The foods you eat can affect your mood, and in the winter, many people need foods to boost their mood. Winter is a time of year when many people battle depression, but eating right can help take the edge of the sadness of the season. Here are some ideas and suggestions.
Nuts and Seeds
Some people feel like they should avoid nuts and seeds due to their high calorie and fat content. But the high fat content is what makes nuts and seeds so good for fighting depression. These crunchy little foods contain important mood-boosting fatty acids. Heat can harm these healthful fats, though, so health experts recommend eating nuts and seeds raw if possible. A handful or two a day makes good sense in fighting off winter depression. Some nuts and seeds to try include:
* Hazelnuts (Filberts)
* Pepitas (Pumpkin seeds)
* Sunflower seeds
Lean turkey and chicken contain mood-soothing amino acids called L-tryptophan and L-tyrosine. These amino acids help your brain produce serotonin, the “feel good” brain chemical. Serotonin is often low in people with winter depression. If possible, choose poultry from the whole chicken or turkey rather than deli meats or processed meat slices.
In addition to supplying essential, healthy fatty acids, some seafood also supplies zinc and Vitamin B12. All three of these nutrients – essential fatty acids, zinc, and B12 – play important roles in mood regulation. Salmon is a good source of B12 and fatty acids; crab, oysters and clams are good sources of B12 and zinc.
An important nutrient called folate has a significant effect on certain key neurotransmitters. Some beans and legumes supply this vital nutrient, such as:
* Pinto beans
* Black beans
During the winter, greens like kale and winter cabbage are in season. So are collards and some other greens. If you can’t find them fresh, you can try eating the frozen versions. Many greens are rich in folate, iron, and calcium, which are minerals often lacking in depressed people. Some of the most nutritious greens in this regard are:
* Collard greens
* Turnip greens
In case there weren’t enough reasons to eat this healthful food, here comes another one! Yogurt, like some of the seafood noted above, contains zinc. This mineral has been shown to help fight anxiety which is often a component of depression. Health experts agree that you should avoid sugary yogurt with lots of additives. The best thing is to eat plain yogurt with a little fresh fruit or raw honey.
Sometimes, winter means craving sugar and unhealthy carbs. That’s probably your body’s way of telling you it does need carbs – but the healthy type. Whole grains are considered essential in fighting off depression. For one thing, they contain important mood-boosting B vitamins; for another, they help prevent blood sugar spikes and subsequent crashes. So try to incorporate these whole grains into your diet, replacing the unhealthy, “white” ones:
* Whole wheat
* Brown rice
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