It has been an interesting few weeks here in Huntington, WV. With freezing temperatures and tons of snow, Marshall actually closed for snow for the first time in forever. At first it was great! I got caught up on grading and completing my assignments. But then came another day off and another day and another day and so forth and so on, until I had the entire week off! Talk about having “Cabin fever”, I have reached my limit of staying in!
Here in West Virginia we experience power outages, being snowed in and not getting enough sunlight! The sun is a biggie because this can affect out mood. No one wants to be snowed in with no electric around a bunch of hateful people. Right? Today I want to share with you some key foods and nutrients that I ran across on Appetite for Health, which may help boost your mood as we move through these frigid days.
· Omega- 3 fats can be found in oily fish, such as salmon, mackerel and sardines. They are also found in flaxseeds, canola oil, walnuts and fortified eggs or milk. Last week I posted a couple benefits you could reap from eating these, but there is one more! Some studies have shown a connection between omega-3 fatty acids and a lower risk of depression. While we do not know this for certain, it is still worth a shot to try them. Heck even if it doesn’t help your mood you will still benefit from consuming these.
· Vitamin D is found in fat free and low fat dairy, fortified soy milk, fatty fish and egg yolk. This is a big one to focus on making sure you are getting enough of. In the winter months here in West Virginia we do not get vitamin D from the sun like we do in the summer months. Some studies show that vitamin D can boost serotonin, which is responsible for mood. Serotonin can help elevate, “seasonal affective disorder (SAD),” also known as the winter blues.
· Vitamin B 12 can be found in shellfish, wild salmon, fortified whole-grain cereal, beef, cottage cheese, low-fat yogurt, milk and eggs. If you are not getting enough vitamin B12, this can potentially cause anemia, nervous system disorders, and depression. Get your vitamin B12!
· Folate can be found dark leafy greens such as kale, broccoli, and spinach, fortified whole grains, beans and lentils, sunflower seeds, wheat germ and oranges. Folate is another B vitamin that may help your mood. Some studies have shown that folate is used by the body to make serotonin. Much like vitamin D, serotonin is a “happy” neurotransmitter and could help keep those winter blues at bay.
While all of these nutrients and food items could potentially help you stay healthy and in a good mood, let us focus on another area that is a vital part of our day, breakfast. It is so important to eat breakfast once you wake up. Eating breakfast will give you energy to start your day and some studies have shown that it can lift your mood. By having more energy starting your day, you may feel less tired and less irritable. Plus breakfast can help improve your concentration at work or in school. A good breakfast consists of complex carbohydrates, such as whole grain cereals like oats, wheat or bran, and protein, such as eggs, low fat dairy, and/or nuts.
Want a breakfast that provides all of these nutrients? This is what I eat for breakfast and let me tell you, it is super yummy!
This is the breakfast cereal of champs! It contains whole grain wheat, date crumbles, sunflower seeds, raisins, whole grain rye, whole grain barley, whole grain oats, flaxseed, almonds and walnuts. This is a heart and bowel healthy cereal that has the potential to boost your mood! You can eat this cereal either hot or cold! In the winter months I like to eat mine warm. I add about ½ cup of cereal in with about 1 cup of low-fat milk in a microwave safe bowl. Then I cover the bowl with a paper towel and microwave on high for about 4 minutes; his makes about 2 servings. The only thing I do not like about this product is that is it a little on the pricy side. If you order on Amazon or another website you can purchase this a little cheaper, you can get one 40 ounce bag (2 pounds and 8 ounces), for about $8.00-9.00.
Do not let the winter months cause you to be vicious, stay in a good mood by being nutritious. I hope you all stay warm and in a good mood! A key component to good health is through exercise. Come see us at the Rec Center. For more information on nutrition education and fitness plans, call us at 304-696-4REC(4732).
How do you combat winter blues?