9 Foods to Help Fight The Winter Blues

“The blues” have an array of definitions that fluctuate from a genre of music to a type of pigment. But by far the most common use of the word signifies a feeling of melancholy or misery. These particular blues very frequently coincide with the arrival of wintertime, no matter which of our planet’s hemispheres you’re located in.

Studies show that it has a lot to do with access to daylight and how our bodies get affected by being less exposed to sunshine during winter. Reduced energy levels, increased moodiness, sluggish behavior and bad quality of sleep are all symptoms of what experts call Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD, what an unfortunate acronym!).

Fortunately for our beloved readers, we at Glow follow a “food as medicine” ethos that implies both physical and mental health. We believe there are some simple tweaks and changes you can apply to your diet that will ultimately give your brain chemistry a leg up to help you potentially feel better.

Here are 9 foods to help you lift and hopefully beat the winter blues:

But first, it’s important to remember that there are 3 main pillars of mood-boosting foods. They are vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids and magnesium.

1- Avocados

What could we possibly say about avocados that hasn’t been said already? It has become common knowledge that this “technically a fruit” offers nutrients in abundance that combine to create a nourishing, satisfying, and in our personal opinion, absolutely delicious in its versatility.

Any way you slice or serve avocados, the nutrient they offer the most is monounsaturated fats. These specific types contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which help decrease inflammation in the body and help the brain perform at its best and react positively to stress.

2- Mushrooms

We really hope that one day you truly stopped to appreciate those little fungi sitting atop your pizza. In case you haven’t yet, you really should and the only way to do that is by eating more of them!

Little do most people know, mushrooms may be the only good plant source of vitamin D. By approximately eating just 85 grams of mushrooms, you’ve met your daily vitamin D requirement and given your mental as well as bone health a good boost.

3- Almonds

We at The Glow Paradise remain perplexed to this day as to why the saying goes “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” instead of “a handful of raw almonds a day keeps the doctor away”, and that is why you will find almonds in a lot of our menu items.

This heart-healthy high-fat food is a magnesium powerhouse, which will help you with muscle and nerve function and will also regulate your mood. A low level of magnesium in the body is generally associated with oxidative stress and increased inflammation, both of which can trigger negative health outcomes.

4- Tuna

Another food that is high in vitamin D is good old canned tuna! Not only is it cheaper than buying fresh fish, but it’s also one of the most flavorful sources of protein for a food that’s so easy to store.

This popular saltwater fish with a distinctive taste will help boost your vitamin D levels, which has been proven to regulate mood and may lower levels of depression and anxiety.

5- Walnuts

Aside from being in season right now, there is a plethora of reasons why we love walnuts. In addition to containing anti-depressing properties, this common snack that floats around holiday times can be added to oatmeal, salads, sides and pastas, lending crunch and brain-boosting nutrition.

Walnuts also contain healthy omega-3 fatty acids that and antioxidants that are seen to suppress cancer cell growth in vitro.

6- Eggs

Even more love on the vitamin D front! Eggs are overflowing with a variety of health benefits, including their high vitamin D content. The more often you eat the whole thing, the more healthy fats and brain-supportive choline and protein you get; all nutrients necessary to keep seasonal melancholy away.

This everyday staple will keep you feeling great all winter long.

7- Dark Chocolate

Chocolate bars with 70% cocoa solids or higher as well as unsweetened cocoa powder will not only warm your soul, but also boost your mood. Cocoa itself causes the brain to release endorphins, translating into a better demeanor and positive outlook.

You definitely don’t have to tell us twice to eat more chocolate! The polyphenols in it will improve our brain function while be sit back, relax, and enjoy a delicious treat guiltlessly.

8- Fatty Fish

Fish, when fatty, in general is mainly loaded with healthy fats. It is truly a great choice for battling the winter blues. As these fats play a key role in brain development and maturing, it makes fish an ideal dinner option on a cold winter night.

Salmon, anchovies or herring once or twice a week can be enjoyed as a lean, mood-lifting protein option.

9- Bananas

A tried and true mood-lifting food, bananas are both widely available in abundance and greatly affordable. They contain complex carbohydrates and are a particularly good source of magnesium, which makes them an under-appreciated nutritional powerhouse.

Not to mention, they also contain good amounts of vitamin B6, needed to convert tryptophan to serotonin, AKA your stay-happy neurotransmitter.