Winter time can be tough. Depending where you live, there may be limited sunshine, short days, and cold nights. This can cause us to stay indoors more, eat more calorie-dense foods, and exercise less. The combination of these common winter habits and the stress of the holidays can lead many to seasonal depression. Keeping your nutrition at the forefront and being mindful of what you eat may help you get through this winter. Load your plate with these winter foods to push through depression and stay energized.
Dark Leafy Greens
We are always told to eat our greens, but do you really know why? For many of us, if we actually tracked our vitamins and minerals from our daily eating habits, most of us are not even coming close to the recommended intake of micronutrients. Micronutrients help us with everything from cell function and sleep to hormone production. That means eating just a cup or 2 of dark leafy greens will increase your magnesium intake which will help you produce more serotonin (hormone for sleep, well-being, and happiness). Dark leafy greens are actually really inexpensive during the winter time because they are usually at their nutritional peak when it is the coldest.
Black Eyed Peas
Being deficient in vitamin B-9 or Folic Acid, has been linked commonly to those who struggle with depression. One cup of cooked black-eyed peas contains 89 percent of your daily value of vitamin B-9 (folic acid). Combine these powerful legumes with a vitamin b12 supplement, and you should be feeling more energized already!
Wild Caught Salmon
Salmon are one of the few natural sources of vitamin D, Omega 3s and vitamin B12. Omega 3s are important for the proper structure of membranes in the brain, as well as in the transmission of the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine. Getting some fresh salmon at least once or twice a week may help those struggling with the winter-time blues.
We know that the more colorful your plate, the more nutrients right? Well, sweet potatoes’ orange color indicates a rich source of beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant, which has been shown to help with those who struggle with depression and mental health. Sweet potatoes may also be protective against free-radicals, which cause damage to brain cells. The carbohydrates in these starches help with serotonin production, which will also boost your mood. Sweet potato fries anyone?