It can be hard to stay cheery after the holidays have passed. Add to that shorter days with less daylight, and it’s natural that a bit of winter low moods can set in. Try these easy to use tips to fight the winter blues and make changes that can have significant positive impacts on your moods.
• Keep blood sugar balanced to avoid an insulin rush which can drop blood sugar and zap energy.
• Eat quality protein foods. Most high quality protein foods contain high concentrations of Tryptophan and Tyrosine, two essential amino acids we must get from our food. These mood enhancing amino acids are building blocks for your brain’s powerful neurotransmitters; feel good chemicals that calm and sedate or excite and arouse brain chemistry. A diet low in quality protein can lead to amino acid deficiencies that can lead to decreased neurotransmitter production. Foods rich in the amino acid Tryptophan are eggs, cottage cheese, milk, turkey and chicken, beef, salmon, tuna, halibut, cod, snapper and shrimp, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and walnuts. Foods rich in the amino acid Tyrosine are Greek Yogurt, dairy products, whey protein, pumpkin and sesame seeds, almonds, and avocados.
• Protein foods should be eaten with nutrient dense foods that contain plenty of B-Vitamins which are important co-factors necessary for proper protein and amino acid metabolism. Fruits, vegetables, grains and healthy fats will supply a full range of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and essential fats critical for a balanced, happy body.
• Avoid caffeinated drinks and alcohol if you suffer from low moods. Both can cause dehydration which have been shown to cause or worsen low moods.
• Avoid processed foods and fast foods as much as possible and focus on real, pure foods.
• Hydrate with plenty of water throughout the day. Also, consider including coconut water, a super hydrator, 4 ounces, twice a day to boost potassium, electrolytes and Vitamin C. Proper hydration and visualizing a trip to the islands can improve anyones mood.
• Exercise daily to reduce stress and boost self-esteem. Studies show that exercise can be more effective at fighting depression than most anti-depressants.
A nutrient dense, balanced diet with 40 percent of calories from carbohydrate, 30 percent from protein, and 30 percent from fat can provide mood boosting meals to help balance brain chemistry and stabilize moods. So cheer up, you can start feeling better as quickly as your next balanced meal and have added energy to exercise. Diet and exercise are a powerful duo to allow you to take control of your health and happiness.
Joyce Daoust is a Certified Nutritionist and national best selling co-author of:
THE FORMULA, A Personalized 40-30-30 Weight Loss Program.