Do you experience a sudden change in mood, concentration, or energy during the winter? Have you been feeling more lethargic, cranky, or depressed than usual? Though it’s completely normal to have a bad or off day – especially when in stressful situations – if your feelings of depression persist well into winter you may be one of the 10% – 20% of Americans suffering from mild winter blues.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is often called “winter blues” because it most often occurs between fall and late winter. Though the cause of SAD is still under debate, the seasonal drop in serotonin, dopamine and melatonin levels – which often leads to depression or moodiness – is linked to winter’s shorter days and lack of sunshine. Luckily there are easy ways to prevent or relieve the symptoms of SAD.
Did you know the food you eat can have a direct effect on your mental health? Just like caffeine is linked to an increase in energy, certain foods are linked to improving mood and reducing stress. Are you in need of a boost of happiness, energy, and focus? Add these foods to your diet for an instant pick me up.
- Walnuts. Omega 3 fatty acids found in walnuts not only support overall brain health, but are linked to the production of serotonin and dopamine, the chemicals that cause the feeling of happiness or euphoria.
- Greek Yogurt. The high amount of calcium found in yogurt and other dairy products increases production of feel-good neurotransmitters which reduce stress, anxiety, and irritability.
- Tomatoes. Lycopene, a fat-soluble phytonutrient, helps protect the brain from inflammatory components linked to Dark Chocolate. Chocolate is chock full of antioxidants that provide an instant boost in mood, improves concentration, and even increases blood flow to the brain. Now that’s a sweet deal!
Try adding these mood boosting foods to your diet and get back to feeling better fast!