Foods to Help Pull You Out Of the Winter Blues
December 21, 2015
Help put a smile back on your face with these “happy” foods
Smile With the Help of These Foods
The chilly winter months are kind of a challenge for a lot of people. It gets dark earlier, there is less time in the day, and the weather is biting in much of the country, so we can’t just go for a nice jaunt outside when we feel blue. It’s a time when those grumpy feelings can really hit hard, leading us to snap at our loved ones, burrow into the couch, and feel like burying ourselves under the blankets until the warmth returns.
It’s no secret that chocolate can be a miracle cure-all, at least in our heads. But using chocolate as a food to beat stress and depression might actually work. According to Torchia, “Experts say that chocolate — particularly dark chocolate — may help reduce the stress hormones that are swarming in your body.” So grab that chocolate bar and don’t be shy.
Feelings of sluggishness can also go hand in hand with depression and the blues. Instead of reaching for the coffee, try a spinach salad. “The best way to get a boost? Eat folate-rich foods like spinach and other leafy green vegetables as well as potatoes, fortified breads and cereals, beans, peas, and mushrooms.”
Apples with Peanut Butter
Feelings of crankiness are sometimes a sign that your body just needs to refuel. In that case, try a combination snack. “Combination foods contain a carbohydrate in combination with either some protein or some fat. Carbohydrates are a great source of energy that quickly burns out. Adding some fat or protein will slow the digestion process, causing your sugar and energy levels to remain stable for a longer amount of time. A great example of a combination snack is an apple with peanut butter. The apple is your healthy complex carbohydrate and the peanut butter is a healthy fat.”
Salmon or other Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Anxiety is one thing we never want to experience. That doesn’t mean we won’t. When you need to combat your anxious feelings, try something like salmon. “Regular consumption of omega-3s has extensive research support for both the prevention and treatment of clinical depression. And there's growing evidence that omega-3s also help reduce anger and irritability.”
If you feel the need to calm down quickly, try sipping on a nice cup of green tea. “Green tea contains theanine, which calms you and helps you maintain clear concentration and focus. Green tea’s modest amount of caffeine won’t send you into an angry rage, either; it’s gentler on your body than coffee.”
Feelings of sadness might seem natural from time to time, but they can also indicate a vitamin D deficiency. “This nutrient has many different roles in the body, one of which is to help in the production of serotonin. If you’re low on vitamin D, [it] may be affecting your body’s ability to stabilize your mood and reduce feelings of depression.”
Low-Sugar, Low-Fat Carbs
Comfort foods may seem to be the most fun way to rid yourself of depression. But instead of devouring a bucket of fried chicken, try something like an egg-salad sandwich. “An egg-salad sandwich on whole-grain bread offers the perfect carbohydrate-tryptophan combination. Try our favorite tip: Cut the mayo and mix your diced hard-cooked eggs with a teaspoon of fat-free or low-fat plain Greek yogurt and half a teaspoon of whole-grain Dijon mustard.”