8 Foods That Help Combat Winter Blues

8 Foods That Help Combat Winter Blues

Can changing your food change your mood?

The winter months can be a challenge for some people.  I am not a fan of winter and tend to hibernate, only going out when absolutely necessary.

It gets dark earlier giving you less time in the day so many people are driving to work in the dark and coming home in the dark.   That can be depressing.


Below are eight foods that may help you combat those winter blues:


1)    Berries – Stress aggravates depression symptoms and exhausts your body. Blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries may help prevent the release of cortisol, a hormone produced by the adrenal gland. 


2)    Dark Chocolate – Chocolate has always been a tasty and good way to self-medicate through down times. Studies have shown that dark chocolate significantly improved mood, which researchers linked with a high polyphenol content. Polyphenols are a type of antioxidant.  When you’re feeling down, pick up a bar with the highest cocoa content you can find.  When I get dark chocolate, it is usually 80% cocoa or higher and it definitely improves my mood.  


3)    Omega-3 Fatty Acids – Omega-3 fatty acids have been praised for their health benefits, including possibly influencing your mood. One study from the University of Pittsburgh found that people with higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids were less likely to experience moderate or mild symptoms of depression.  Some foods include wild-caught salmon, chia seeds, flax seeds, hemps seeds or cod liver oil as well as Omega-3 supplements.  If you need an Omega-3 recommendation, reach out to me. 


4)    Bananas – Like turkey, bananas contain tryptophan. Magnesium, also found in bananas, may improve sleep and reduce anxiety — two symptoms of seasonal depression.  I love frozen banana ice cream.


5)    Pumpkin Seeds – One tasty way to raise the level of the mood-boosting brain chemical serotonin is to enjoy a snack of roasted pumpkin seeds.


6)    Almonds – Almonds are high in magnesium, which may affect the production of mood-influencing chemicals in the brain. For a treat that won’t end with a sugar crash, try snacking on cinnamon-roasted almonds.  


7)    Walnuts – The omega-3 fatty acids in walnuts help promote heart health and cognitive function. They also help elevate mood.


8)    Oats –  Oats promote the production of serotonin, a feel-good brain chemical.


Winter can result in lower levels of serotonin, the mood-enhancing chemical that regulates and the feeling of well-being.


Serotonin production increases with light, meaning that gray gloom creeping in the window is not kicking the production of feel-good chemicals into action.  Along with some of the suggested foods, you can also do light therapy.  Amazon has different lights that can help improve your mood and combats sleep issues by resetting your circadian rhythm.


I hope these food tips help you combat those winter blues and before you know it, Spring will be here!