Winter is usually the hardest season for people to get through. Between the cold weather, the long hours of darkness, and spending most of your time indoors, this season can really affect your mood in a negative way. But one way to be proactive about uplifting your mood is by focusing on your diet. Today we will give some suggestions of food to include in your diet that can help boost your sense of well-being and fight the winter blues.
Avocados are packed with nutrients, including many that can help uplift your mood. Avocados contain healthy fats that are important for brain health and cognitive function. They also contain vitamin B5 which is an important nutrient that helps your body produce neurotransmitters which are important for regulating your mood. Avocados also contain the amino acid tyrosine which is the precursor to dopamine, the neurotransmitter that makes you feel pleasure, satisfaction, and helps keep you motivated.
Fatty fish, such as salmon, is another food that is rich in healthy fats, specifically omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for brain health. Research has shown that those deficient in omega-3’s are more susceptible to developing mood disorders. Consumption of omega-3 fatty acids is also associated with overall improved cognitive function.
Eggs contain many B vitamins, omega-3’s, and amino acids that are important for proper brain function. Eggs are also a food source of vitamin D, which many people are deficient in, especially in the winter months when they aren’t exposed to as much sunlight. Vitamin D plays an important role in regulating your mood and decreasing the risk of depression.
Beets are rich in the nutrient betaine and the amino acid tryptophan, both of which have been shown to improve mood. Tryptophan is a precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin, which helps us feel happy, calm, and overall emotionally stable. Beets also contain natural nitrates, which our bodies convert to nitric oxide. Nitric oxide increases blood flow to the brain and modulates various neurotransmitters. This can help lessen anxiety, decrease symptoms of depression, and even help us have better sleep, which can enhance our overall feeling of well-being.
Did you know that a lot of our neurotransmitters are produced in the gut with the help of our gut bacteria? Focusing on your gut health is a helpful way to ensure your mood is optimal. A great way to support your gut health is by consuming fermented foods and drinks that contain probiotics, such as sauerkraut, yogurt, kimchi, miso, kefir, kombucha, and beet kvass. Consuming fermented food has been linked to lowering depression and anxiety, so regularly including these in your diet can certainly help keep your mood up and fight the winter blues.