Eating To Beat The Winter Blues

Eating To Beat The Winter Blues

IMG_0764 Winter means shorter days and colder temperatures which can lead to a lack of energy and cravings for different types of food.  Cold weather can trigger carbohydrate cravings.  Often people eat during the winter months to boost their mood and energy turning to refined and processed foods like white breads, rice and sugar.  But what you eat can have a huge impact on how you feel.  Refined and processed foods not only lack important nutrients your body needs but they also deplete it of energy by causing blood sugar levels to quickly rise and plummet as the body releases insulin to bring glucose levels down to safe levels.  These highs and lows can negatively affect your mood and how you feel resulting in mood swings and a lack of concentration.

The foods you eat greatly affect your mood and energy levels. In order to avoid those energy highs and lows the following foods and nutrients will help you maintain a steady energy level during the winter months.

* B Vitamins: B vitamins are critical for sustaining energy levels due to the fact that they convert food into fuel which the body uses for energy.  Foods high in the B vitamins include whole grains, nuts, meat and green, leafy vegetables.

*Vitamin D: One of the roles of Vitamin D is producing serotonin in the body.  Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is responsible for enhancing mood and energy.  During the winter months, many people are lacking in Vitamin D due to reduced daylight hours and minimal exposure to sunlight.  Vitamin D can be found in salmon, tuna, eggs, and mushrooms.

*Iron:    Iron is an essential nutrient that helps transport oxygen throughout the body. Insufficient oxygen in the body leads to fatigue resulting in exhaustion.  Low iron levels are the most common nutritional deficiency in the United States.  Good sources of iron from vegetables include spinach, sweet potatoes, string beans and peas.  Meat sources of iron are turkey, chicken, tuna, and beef.  Iron can also be found in eggs, beans and whole grains.

* Omega-3 fatty acids: Fatty acids are fats that are necessary for the body to function properly.  They play many important roles in the body, including energy storage. Omega-3 fatty acids improve both mood and memory leading to increased focus and energy. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fatty fish like salmon and tuna, flax seeds, black beans, kidney beans and walnuts. Fatty acids are essential because your body does not make them on their own and must be consumed in the diet.  For more tips on diet, nutrition, workouts, or if you’re thinking about hiring a personal trainer, contact us.

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