Eat your way to better mental health this winter
As winter reaches its peak, your mood may do the opposite. Seasonal blues are a scientifically proven phenomenon due to winter’s lack of sunlight. During the dark winter months, the body naturally produces more melatonin — a hormone that makes you feel “down.”
But your mood’s not solely tied to sunlight. The foods you consume throughout the season play significant role in your biology and mental health.
To help you beat winter blues, we’re sharing some dietary tips to help cultivate a balanced and natural diet for this season.
For one of those days where you’re craving something comfortable, try and replace them with a healthier alternative. So instead of french fries, try making baked potatoes. Similarly you can replace heavy pasta dishes with a light ramen meal, or make a warm soup for yourself filled with vegetables and meat. Going for baked foods and removing calorie dense foods like cheeses and oils is the best way to bring together a healthy meal.
Vitamin D is a real problem throughout the season. Since sunlight is limited our body can’t get enough of it and our mood suffers as a result. Your best bet is to add foods to your diet that’ll include vitamin D. These include foods like eggs, dairy, meat and mushrooms.
Focus on eating like your ancestors did throughout the season. The old ways of eating are more natural and keep your brain healthy. This includes primarily eating whole foods and staying away from deep fried and processed meals. Also be sure to include complex carbohydrates in your diet like porridge and grains and eat plenty of leafy greens. All these are ‘boring’ foods but these provide the real strength and fuel you need throughout the winter.
Proteins are crucial for the production of neurotransmitters in the brain. These include chemicals like serotonin and dopamine. You might have heard their names before. Neurotransmitters are crucial to regulate your mood. Without enough protein, you might experience an imbalance of these neurotransmitters in your brain that can mess up your mood. Be sure to check your recommended protein intake using any calculator online and tweak your diet according to that.
Although not directly associated with good, eating together is highly important for a healthier mood, regardless of your season. The science clearly shows that when you eat with others instead of in front of a screen, it leads to emotional wellness and a better mood overall. This might not be possible for those of us who live alone, but do try and share meals with your friends and family during the upcoming holiday season.
Your diet can be a powerful ally against winter gloominess. Put these tips to use to preserve your energy and mental health throughout the season. We’re rooting for you.