Food that Beats the Winter Blues!

After a battery charging summer full of heat and energizing sunrays, the day is slowly but surely becoming shorter, with the grey sky and cold weather more and more prevailing. These weather conditions are the best to let people find themselves vulnerable to winter blues attacks. As it is well known, the effect of the dark and cold winter weather does not only affect the way people feel, but it also crucially transforms the eating habits of people. A lot of people reach for calorie-laden comfort foods to boost their spirits and mood, but unfortunately after indulging these apparently rewarding items, twining of consciousness starts kicking.

Research has revealed how selective eaters can choose the appropriate type of fuel to help achieve them or maintain a desired mental state. As it is very well known and scientifically proven, the type of food ingested can brighten the dark and short winter days and positively affect the mental and psychological status. Generally speaking, moods are linked to the level, production or use of specific brain chemicals (neurotransmitters), and scientists have identified many of the natural chemicals in foods that can alter the way people feel, which simply means that people can eat certain foods in order to beat the winter blues.

When our readers want to feel pleasant and alert throughout the day, they should opt for food items that stimulate the release of dopamine, which produces rewarding feelings. Phenylalanine is an essential amino acid found in the brain and blood that can be converted in the body to tyrosine, which in turn is used to synthesize dopamine, instantly augments energy levels, mood and alertness. This means that our readers should start their day with eggs and whole wheat toast (not brown one like a lot of people are doing), which stimulates dopamine production, and will help people keep feeling energized throughout the day. Breakfast is a must because it provides glucose to the vital grey cells and other organs, making the person mentally efficient and alert, after the body has been deprived from food for the last 8 sleeping hours.

To ease feelings of depression, people should ingest more fish. Omega-3 fatty acids (found in fatty fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines and tuna) are proven to help to ease symptoms related to depression. It is scientifically proven, that people with higher blood levels of these fatty acids were reported to experience less depressive symptoms, and are generally found to be more enjoyable. This effect may be attributed to the fact that Omega-3 fats make up about 8% of our brain. Higher intakes of these fats are associated with an increased volume of the parts of the brain responsible for mood and behavior.

On the other hand, a lack of selenium can cause bad and irritable mood. Individuals suffering from low selenium levels have been shown to be more anxious, irritable, hostile and depressed than people with normal selenium levels. Brazil nuts, salmon, and shitake mushrooms can instantaneously get people out of this mood. One should however watch out not to ingest too many Brazil nuts, as they are laden with calories and may cause havoc to the tailored nutrition program people are following.

When people do not get enough exposure to sunlight, mood and physical health will start to suffer and deteriorate. More specifically, serotonin levels, a hormone associated with elevating mood, rises when people are exposed to sunlight. This means that it will leave people feel sad during the darker winter months. The remedy is however present, by ingesting a specific type of an amino acid called tryptophan, which helps raising serotonin levels in the brain, causing the person to feel once again upbeat. Eating foods that are high in tryptophan such as low-fat cottage cheese, nuts, banana and chicken will help boost mood in a both healthy and natural manner.

Last but not least, winter is a great season to do outdoor activities and sports, without fearing the dripping sweat associated with working out in the sun.

Improved self-esteem is a key psychological benefit of regular physical activity. When people exercise, the body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in the brain, reducing the perception of pain.

Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine. For example, the feeling that follows a run or workout is often described as “euphoric.” That feeling, which is also known as known as a “runner’s high,” can be accompanied by a positive and energizing outlook on life.

And a workout must not take endless hours. Studies have shown that anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour of exercise every day can have a positive impact on the mood. When people exercise, the body releases the aforementioned endorphins which trigger the feeling of happiness. Exercise has also been shown to reduce stress, which can help alleviate feelings of depression brought on by the winter blues.

For our avid readers, frequent exercising can make jeans fit better and improve the curves, which is a mood booster itself.

With all the above-mentioned methods, winter blues will not stand a chance to attack you and will be immediately dashed to pieces.


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