Winter blues? Try adding these 5 mood-boosting foods to your daily diet
It is cold, it is wet, it is still dark in the mornings, and honestly; who isn't feeling just a little bit blah right about now? I mean, it doesn't help that we are all broke after Christmas and that this month feels like the longest there is and seriously; can we just get a break now with all this miserable weather?
Anyway, winter has that effect on many of us. Things just feel pretty bleak once Christmas has come and gone, and January stretches out ahead of us, all dull and long and grim.
The good news?
It is a lot easier to snap out of a funk if you are eating the right foods. It's true. So before you pour yourself another coffee and tear the wrapping off a Snickers bar, know this: The food you eat when you are feeling sad, anxious, moody and stressed can end up doing two things: Either help pick you up – or keep on dragging you down.
So choose wisely.
These five foods are all known to have a positive effect on our mood and our feelings, and will do great things for your overall health too:
1. Green tea
Instead of your usual latte in the morning, try making yourself a cup of green tea. Sipping on something hot in general is soothing, and the perfect thing to be doing if you are feeling either stressed or anxious. And there are more benefits too. Studies, like this one published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition , shows that green tea contains many mood-boosting nutrients including the amino acid L-theanine, which has been linked to reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety.
2. Greek, full-fat yoghurt
Eating a good and wholesome breakfast is always a good idea if you are looking to boost your mood and feel better. Greek yoghurt is an excellent choice as it has a healthy serving of protein to keep you full for longer (limiting any blood sugar crashes) and also, from a mood point of view, because it contains calcium. Calcium can have a major effect on mood regulation, as it plays a major role in releasing feel-good chemicals from your brain.
Eating calcium-rich foods is also advised if you suffer from PMS, as research has shown that calcium actually can help you cope with some of the symptoms related with the condition. A study of women taking 500 milligrams (mg) of calcium carbonate twice a day for 3 months found they had less fatigue, fewer changes in appetite, and less depression than women with PMS who did not take the supplement.
3. Wild salmon
Omega-3s are good for you in so many ways, also because these nutrients alter brain chemicals linked with mood—specifically dopamine and serotonin. To load up on these natural feel-good boosters, try eating a piece of wild salmon for dinner several times a week. Alternatively, flaxseeds are another great option to load up on plant-based Omega-3s. Try to add some to a smoothie, sprinkle on your cereal or just stir a handful into a soup or stew.
Berries, in general, are great, but none more so than blueberries when it comes to a type of antioxidant called flavonoids, which are known to help regulate mood, improve memory, and even help protect the brain from ageing.
According to research, blueberries help activate brain pathways associated with better cognition and cellular regulation, and researchers argue this anti-inflammatory superfood may also be helpful in treating PTSD and other serious mental health issues.
Feeling down? You need to uptake your intake of magnesium now, experts agree. Not only because this mineral is essential for increasing your energy, relax the muscles and support brain function, but magnesium is also well-known for its mood-boosting properties.
Some of the best dietary sources of magnesium are dark leafy greens, such as spinach, kale and Swiss Chard. As well as these, try including more beans and lentils, pumpkin seeds and almonds into your diet too, and you'll soon notice a difference.