(BlackDoctor.org) — Cold, rainy, snowy days bring on the blues in many of us. Along with the blues sometimes comes an insatiable appetite for comfort foods that usually don’t even begin to help improve our moods. The foods we crave are usually loaded with carbohydrates, sugar, and fat and tend to just give us a tired, bloated feeling.
Turn things around this winter season and lift your spirits with a dose of healthy, hearty foods that can really improve your mood and overall outlook.
1. Limit Refined Carbohydrates. Leave the sugary, white starch foods on the shelf. Now is not the time to load up on donuts and cakes. Choose whole grain oatmeal with added fruits such as apples, pears, or even sweet potatoes which are all high in fiber. Also choose brown rice, wild rice, or whole grain breads. All of these foods are higher quality carbohydrates with more fiber which can contribute to the release of serotonin, which is a hormone with a calming effect.
2. Get Your B & D. These two vitamins can make a big difference in your quality of life, especially during the winter months. Sunlight is a primary source of vitamin D for our bodies and when the sun isn’t shining you can’t get enough. Choose vitamin D fortified products of take a vitamin D3 supplement for enough to boost your mood. The recently updated goal is 600IU per day. Don’t forget about those B-vitamins, too! Folate and vitamin B12 are prime examples: folate is often found in green leafy vegetables and fortified cereals. Look to your protein sources, such as eggs, low-fat dairy, beef, and salmon, for enough B12. B-vitamins will help keep your energy level up even when you don’t feel up to it. Remember it is important to consult your physician before starting any supplement.
3. Boost Your Omegas. Adequate omega-3 intake has been proven to have a mood lifting effect. Choose oily fish, such as salmon, tuna, and sardines, walnuts, flaxseed or Omega-3 fortified eggs to increase your intake.
4. Stay Hydrated & Keep Moving. Remember that cold weather doesn’t mean you don’t need to drink more water. You may not feel thirsty as often, but your body still needs at least 64 ounces of fluid every day. One symptom of dehydration is fatigue.
In addition to eating better, don’t forget to move your body! Exercise releases valuable endorphins which can help fight off the dreary feeling of the end of winter. It will also help you stay motivated and away from those fatty comfort foods.