Feeling a little down? Whether you call it the winter blues or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), this time of year can be rough on some of us. The combination of cold weather, shorter days, less sunshine, and less-than-healthy comfort food can leave you feeling tired, lethargic and depressed.
However, with a little planning, a positive attitude and proper nutrition can make a big difference in how you feel. Here are some mood-boosting healthy treats that might help perk you back up.
Enjoy a hot cup of green tea. Nothing is more soothing to your senses than a hot cup of perfectly-steeped tea. But there’s more reason to enjoy this drink than flavor and warmth. It contains a polyphenol called EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), which may alleviate depression. A recent study showed people who drank 4 or more cups per day were 44 percent less likely to have symptoms of depression than those who had 1 cup daily. That’s a big mood boost! If you haven’t tried the powdered matcha version, you should. It’s delicious.
Grill up some delicious salmon. Fish with bones like salmon, tuna and sardines, are packed with two mood-boosting nutrients: vitamin D and omega 3 fatty acids. Both have been shown to reduce symptoms of depression and also boost immunity. We all know what a bummer getting sick can be. Plus, despite being called “fatty fish,” salmon is a good source of lean protein. If you’re getting some exercise to help boost your mood, you’ll need it.
Blend up some berries. Stress is a major contributor to feelings of depression. Strawberries, blueberries and raspberries may help suppress the release of cortisol, a hormone linked to stress response. Even though they’re off-season in the winter, you can find frozen berries in your grocery and blend them into a nutrient-dense, delicious smoothie.
Toss together a spinach salad. Like all leafy greens, spinach is high in Vitamin C and those mood-boosting, inflammation-fighting omega-3s. Throw it together with some walnuts (also high in omega-3s), strawberries and a light dressing, and you’ve got a crunchy, sweet, powerhouse of nutrition and flavor.
Feeling a little better with these tips? That’s great! If you’d like more information on the mood-boosting power of good food, check out this book.