The Winter blahs are taking hold! The long cold dark days of winter seem never ending and this year we have had it all from rain to ice to snow to sleet and only a few short moments of sunshine. It can be hard to stay upbeat and motivated before long the winter blahs move in.
Research is showing that maintaining a healthy diet may improve your mood. Focus on including fruits and vegetables alongside lean protein and fibre-rich cereals. A good intake of mood-lifting B vitamins from fibre sources, such as oatmeal and grains supply folic acid as well as tryptophan, an amino acid that is used by your body to produce serotonin, will help to regulate your mood.
Studies have found that low levels of the sunshine vitamin (Vitamin D) are significantly associated with higher levels of the winter blues. Most Canadians are already at risk of vitamin D deficiency in the winter with their northern latitude and significantly less time spent outdoors. Canadian adults need 600 IU of vitamin D per day. Good dietary sources include fatty fish, fish liver oils and egg yolks as well as fortified foods such as milk, margarine and some cereals.
A deficiency of Omega 3 has been seen as a contributing factor to mood. A 2006 review article in the Journal of Psychiatry identified that high fish eating countries such as Iceland have lower rates of seasonal affective disorder despite their northern latitude. However, as Omega-3 rich fish diets change to a typical western diet, the rate of depression and S.A.D. increased. While Omega 3 is also found in vegetarian sources (e.g nuts), it isn’t clear whether they will have the same beneficial effect as Omega-3 rich fish oils. Good dietary sources include salmon, mackerel and herring. Six ounces of salmon per week will provide approximately 500 milligrams of DHA + EPA per day. Up your intake of Omega 3 or supplement as necessary.
Sunshine and fresh air do your body, heart and mood wonders. Get outside for a walk on your lunch hour, pull on the snow pants and get outside with the kids after school or meet up with a friend for coffee outside! Take the stairs, join a hot yoga class, buy a new muscle toning DVD, do something to keep yourself moving.Eat fresh fruit and vegetables, get your vitamin D, serve fish a couple times a week and stay active inside and outside to boost those happy hormones and find your Winter Mojo!