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THE BEST MOOD BOOSTING FOODS

24 May 2022 Jenna Amos

The short days and post winter weather can leave us in a seasonal slump.

Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, impacts close to 10 million Americans and is characterized by regular feelings of sadness, low energy and difficulty concentrating, but only during certain seasons.  While not everyone experiencing these symptoms may have SAD, many of us find ourselves needing a mood boost this time of year.     

In addition to treatments like light therapy and medication, some foods can help you feel more energized and boost your winter mood.  Check out some below:

  • Carbs: These are our body’s main fuel source, and not having enough during the day could leave us sluggish, fatigued and unable to focus. Ever feel an endless craving for carbs after a bad night’s sleep? That your body’s way of trying to keep itself energized to make up for not enough shut eye! 

    • Not all carbs are made the same but both fast digesting simple carbs and slow digesting complex carbs can provide energy.  To avoid a quick energy spike then slump, choose complex carbs like whole grains and whole fruit, lentils, or hummus over simple carbs like white bread, soda, or desserts, or pair them together.

  • Water: Feeling low energy and unable to focus? You could be dehydrated. Dry indoor heat in the winter months, reduced feelings of thirst in cold air, and quick evaporating sweat can make the risk of dehydration in the winter months even higher than the summer.  

    • Just like in warm months, always keep a water bottle nearby. If it's in your line of sight, you're more likely to drink it. Too chilly? Decaf herbal tea can also keep you hydrated.

  • Probiotics: Known for promoting gut health, these healthy bacteria have been linked to mental health through early research. The gut has even been called our “second brain”.  To get your dose of probiotics, enjoy fermented foods like plain yogurt, kombucha, sauerkraut, and pickles. 

If you’re in a winter slump, make sure you’re including enough of the above nutrients and foods- they could give you a bit of a boost. Be sure to always check with a doctor before making any changes in your diet and remember, while food and nutrition can do a lot for us, it isn’t a replacement for regular therapy or medical treatment.    

 

Thanks to our Contributing Dietitian, Jenna Amos, RDN, for this post. 

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