While the winter can bring in loving feelings that are associated with the holidays, winter can also bring along seasonal affective disorder. With less sunlight, your body’s sleep, mood, and appetite can change. Some may call this “seasonal depression.” It usually appears during the late fall months and early winter. Symptoms may include:
- lack of motivation to carry out daily tasks
- change of appetite
- weight gain
- feelings of sadness and hopelessness
- avoiding people or activities that you typically enjoy
- feeling stressed.
Whatever the reason for these symptoms may be, it is important to keep a healthy mindset and mental state during the colder, darker, winter days.
Fortunately, food can play a huge role in how we feel. Some foods contain properties that support mental health and proper brain functioning. Along with eating a balanced diet, we encourage you to socialize, exercise regularly, and share your emotions with loved ones or mental health professionals if you need more support.
Brain Healthy Foods:
Omega-3 Fatty Acids – Fish and seafood like salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, sea bass, trout, shrimp, and vegetarian sources like seaweed and algae, chia seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds, walnuts, edamame, kidney beans, and avocados all are great sources of healthy fats. Eating Omega-3s may be linked to lower depression levels. Include more of them in your daily diet.
Fermented Foods – Kimchi, yogurt, kefir, pickles, sauerkraut, kombucha, and cheese are all foods that help create probiotics in the body. Probiotics are the healthy bacteria in your gut. They are important for keeping a healthy digestive tract. A healthy gut environment can also trigger the release of serotonin. Serotonin is a hormone that helps boost your mood.
Bananas – Bananas are high in vitamin B6, a nutrient responsible for proper brain functioning. It also keeps blood sugar within normal ranges and carries oxygen to blood cells — all of which can regulate mood. Bananas are high in fiber. Fiber supports a healthy gut. A healthy gut translates to a better mood.
Berries – Berries are packed with antioxidants. Research suggests a link between lower depression rates and high consumption of antioxidants.
Beans and lentils – Both are filled with B-vitamins. These vitamins may improve mental function and mood stabilization.
Blood Sugar Regulators – In general, foods such as oats, whole-grains, fruits and vegetables, are high in fiber. Fiber slows the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates (aka – sugar) being released into the bloodstream. Slow absorption results in more stable energy levels–and ultimately, a more stable mood.
Source: National Library of Medicine