Now that the winter months are upon us, many people begin feeling the “blues.” With our daylight hours dwindling and nights growing longer and colder, many Americans face changes in mood and energy. There are natural foods that help fight the winter blues as well as fatigue. Here are 5 mood-boosting foods that you may want to look for.
Fish such as salmon are known to be rich in Omega-3 fatty acids which are essential for optimal functioning of the neurons. Known as one of the world’s healthiest foods, Omega-3s are long recognized to help reduce the risk of heart disease, and in recent studies are now emerging as an effective therapy to help improve mood and prevent depression.
Other foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids are: sardines, herring, tuna, flaxseed meal, dairy products and eggs.
Leafy Green Vegetables
Eating spinach is an excellent way to naturally boost your mood. Adding high folate foods such as leafy green vegetables to your diet helps to calm and maintain a healthy nervous system and vital mental functions. Studies have shown that a lack of folic acid may lead to mental depression. Folic acid, also known as vitamin B9, has also been found to improve the functions of the neurotransmitter substances, namely serotonin and dopamine, inside the brain and also works to protect the brain itself.
Other foods high in folate include: broccoli, spinach, collard or turnip greens, okra, kale, brussel sprouts and asparagus.
Inhale deeply as you hold an orange or lemon. Have you ever noticed that just smelling an orange can affect your mood? Citrus fruits such as oranges and lemons are known to be mood-boosters and help quench stress, anxiety, and tension. Citrus fruits are also jam packed with vitamin C which helps the body absorb iron. Iron is an important component in the way your body carries oxygen throughout. A deficiency in iron is known to cause fatigue. Vitamin C is also a stress fighter and an immunity enhancer.
Other fruits high in vitamin C include: grapefruits, lemons, limes, berries, pineapples, and kiwis.
If you partook in this past Thanksgiving holiday’s turkey dinner, you may have felt the effects of tryptophan. This essential amino acid aids in the production of serotonin, which positively influences mood, sleep, digestion and other social behaviors. Tryptophan is also known to help balance hormones, lower blood sugar levels, boost energy and promote overall well-being.
Other Tryptophan foods include: nuts, seeds, chicken, cheese, beans, and eggs.
Eating eggs for breakfast is a great way to start your day and get a quick dose of vitamin D. With fewer daylight hours it can be difficult. or even impossible, to get your daily dose of vitamin D from sun exposure alone. Therefore, to ensure you get enough it is recommended that you find other sources of the vitamin. Vitamin D is known to help play a role in regulating mood and help ward off the blues as well as help to activate immune system regulation and resistance against illness. Consuming an adequate amount of vitamin D also helps maintain healthy bones, teeth and regulate calcium absorption.
Other vitamin D sources include: salmon, tuna, mackerel, raw milk, mushrooms, and fortified beverages.
So the next time you’re fighting fatigue and irritability this winter, hopefully, all you need to do is go as far as your kitchen to find just the right mood-boosting remedy.