WINTER BLUES | Seasonal Affective Disorder
HOW TO BEAT THE WINTER BLUES
Ten top foods to nourish your body and mind during the Winter months
Winter brings short days, chilly temperatures, more time indoors and lack of exercise resulting in low, sluggish energy and moods. In some cases this can develop in to depression or Seasonal Affective Disorder ( namely SAD ). Common symptoms are constant tiredness, lethargy, cravings for refined carbs and sugars, weight gain, irritability and general poor form. Crawling under the covers and hibernating until Spring seems like the best solution.
But don’t despair. The solution is to shop right, stick to your menu plans and feed your body with the best quality immune-boosting, nutritious and clean foods you can source. I have put together a list of my Top 10 Winter Foods and a breakdown of their key nutrients and characteristics. As you will see many of them are duplicated making shopping and storing a little easier.
Your mind and body will thank you for this by the time Spring comes round again.
- SWEET POTATOES. Rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Potassium, Magnesium and Fibre – a great addition or base for Winter stews and soups.
- LENTILS. The best source of plant protein with no fat. Rich in Potassium, Magnesium and B Vitamins, all good for promoting good mood and well being. Another great base for your soups and stews.
- LEAFY GREENS including spinach, kale, broccoli, parsley and cauliflower all rich in magnesium, iron, B vitamins, vitamin A and C and Omega 3 fats. Spinach in particular is the best source of Omega 3 fat in this food group and helps to prevent inflammation and depression.
- AVOCADO. My favourite and so versatile for any meal, don’t forget to add these in to your smoothies as well. Rich in monounsaturated fat to fight hunger and weight gain and increases metabolism. Also rich in vitamin B6, potassium, protein and fibre – you should always have a supply of these in your larder.
- COCONUT. This is a saturated fat so a bit controversial but raw, organic coconut oil is one of the best foods you can put in your body. It is necessary to prevent low moods, stress, inflammation and dry skin or hair. There are so many benefits of coconut oil but I will do a feature on this alone at a later date. Add to smoothies or stir in to your porridge.
- BANANAS. These are a wonder fruit with many health benefits but primarily combat depression due to high levels of serotonin, boost energy, sustain blood sugars, enhance moods, lower blood pressure and are a fantastic source of fibre. Again I will do a specific feature on bananas at a later date because they are a fantastic, often under-estimated fruit and very affordable.
- PORRIDGE OATS. Whether power house overnight oats or hot oats with seeds, fruit and greek yogurt the common oats are otherwise known as the world’s healthiest food. Their key characteristics are lowering cholesterol, reducing the risk of heart disease, enhancing your immune response to infection and stabilising blood sugars. Nutritionally they are a key source of fibre, magnesium and vitamin B1and provide an ideal source of slow-release energy for starting your day.
- OILY FISH. A common quote from any dietitian or nutritionist is – if there’s one food that good for your heart its oily fish. Its a fantastic source of vitamin D, protein, B vitamins and selenium. Unfortunately our food sources of vitamin D are limited but oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines are our main sources as well as egg yolks. If we eat at least 2 portions of oily fish per week we are likely to reduce our risk of cardiovascular disease, prostate cancer, age-related vision and dementia.
- EGGS. The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition, packed with protein and a range of 18 vitamins and minerals. My advise here is always buy organic, free-range at least of from your local farm supply.
- NUTS AND SEEDS. Brazil nuts, walnuts and almonds are a key source of the B vitamins which support neurological health and helps promote white blood cells to fight infections. Not forgetting linseed, chia seeds and hemp – the richest source of plant protein available. Also a good source of magnesium for reducing stress and depression.
So these are my top 10 Winter wonder foods and should be the basis of any larder or fridge. I will post a few simple weekly menu plans to help you get a good balance of these nutrients. In Winter it is always a good idea to batch cook and freeze soups, stews and casseroles to save time and ensure you are not wasting any of your valuable foods. Stick to these guidelines and should be feeling on top of the world, bouncing with energy and bursting with positive vibes!
Keep well and happy, Debbie x