During the winter months, many people turn toward high-fat comfort foods, which expand their waistlines while also increasing their risk of experiencing the winter blues. The holiday season and all of the tempting treats that come with it also make staying on track difficult. To help keep your mood and your energy levels lifted throughout the year, here are a few foods to be sure to include your diet this winter. Read below for tips on how to modify your diet for winter.
1. Lean Protein
Lean protein is a good source of energy and amino acids, which helps to keep you in a good mood while also fighting off fatigue. Chicken and fish are two good sources of lean protein.
Bananas contain natural sugars, carbohydrates and potassium, which all provided fuel for the body and the brain. The magnesium in bananas has also been shown to reduce anxiety and to improve sleep.
Berries help to prevent the release of cortisol, which is a hormone that creates an emotional response. By keeping your emotions on an even keel, you are better prepared to beat the winter blues. Good choices for this winter include raspberries, blueberries and strawberries.
4. Dark Chocolate
While it is always best to limit your sugar intake, you can still satisfy your sweet tooth with some dark chocolate. Dark chocolate that is made from at least 70 percent cocoa aids in the production of phenylalanine, which helps boast the brain’s dopamine levels. This means dark chocolate is a good option when you need a quick pick-me-up, but you don’t have to worry about the negative side effects associated with eating a snack that is filled with sugar.
5. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids help to fend off depression, thereby making it easier to motivate yourself to get in your winter workout. Good sources of Omega-3 fatty acids include walnuts, flax seeds and salmon.
6. Vitamin B12
Low levels of vitamin B12 have been associated with depression. So fend off the winter doldrums with the help of foods that are high in Vitamin B12, such as wild salmon, clams, oysters, crab, lean beef, eggs, milk, yogurt, cottage cheese and fortified cereals.
7. Vitamin D.
Your body naturally absorbs Vitamin D from the sun, but getting enough sunlight during the wintertime can be difficult. Get more Vitamin D in your diet by eating fish with bones, egg yolks and milk.
8. Folic Acid
Folic acid has also been shown to boost moods, possibly by helping the body create serotonin. Foods high in folic acid include oranges, leafy greens, oatmeal, fortified cereals, sunflower seeds, soybeans, lentils and black-eyed peas.
Following a proper diet is key to keeping your energy levels up while also keeping your mood stable. By making sure to include some essential foods, minerals and vitamins, you will keep the winter blues at bay while also staying fit and healthy.