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Fighting the Winter Blues with Healthy Food Choices

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By Rachel Derry
Staff Writer LIFamilies

Depression can hit anyone at any time, but there seems to be times of the year when it strikes hardest for most. In the winter time, depression can often sky rocket from a lack of light and sunlight, causing your levels of serotonin to plummet. There are many ways to help counter the effects; making sure to do plenty of outdoor activities no matter the temperature, invest in bright indoor lights, and make sure to eat as healthy as possible. Eating as healthy as possibly may be the easiest way to help keep your emotions in balance throughout the season. There are a couple important nutrients that will really help keep you going.

Protein will not only help you out of your midday slump, it may also help lift you out of depression. Protein contains amino acids that help increase the dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine in your brain. This makes you feel more energetic and alert. That's why it never hurts to keep peanut butter, cheese, yogurt, or other good protein source around for when you're feeling low.

Foods rich in vitamin B are a super power in the field of foods to make you feel good. Vitamin B is shown to improve mental and emotional well-being by decreasing depression, aggression and anxiety. Make sure to stock up on bananas, salmon, garlic, spinach, and other dark green veggies to keep your complex vitamin B levels in check.

Iron is another critical ingredient that needs to be actively present in your diet to keep your mood elevated and the blues of depression away. Iron is critical for your neurological function and development. An iron deficiency can lead to depression, feeling weak, tired, and headaches. Foods to keep your iron levels up are peanuts, eggs, beans, shrimp, oysters, peas, dried fruit, and potatoes.

Low levels of potassium are also associated with depression, fatigue, and weakness. Conversely, studies have shown that increasing your potassium intake (even without deficiency) is a good strategic move to combat tension and symptoms of depression, improving your mood. Some great sources of potassium that you may not have thought of are sunflower seeds, pistachios, raisins, avocados, and paprika.

Omega-3 fatty acids known to have many beneficial properties; they're great for helping you lose weight and for helping you keep your immune system strong. Omega-3 fatty acids also help you decrease feels of anxiety; unexplained feelings of sadness, decreased sex drive, and sleep disorders. Increase your Omega-3 levels by eating plenty of rich fish, like salmon, and by eating beans, walnuts, flaxseeds, and squash.

Long Island Health, Fitness & Beauty Articles > Fighting the Winter Blues with Healthy Food Choices

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