Nutrition In yoU: Healthy ways to shake the winter blues

The current forecast for the next week shows highs in the mid-30s with lows in the mid-20s and cloudy with little to no chance of sun. To top it off, 2019 was one of the cloudiest years in northern Illinois on record. With prospects like that, you might be feeling a bit of the winter blues creeping up. Thankfully, including certain foods in our diets may help alleviate those sad feelings by boosting things like vitamin D, serotonin, and other chemicals which are associated with boosting the brain’s mood stabilizers.

  • Eggs. Whole eggs are high in omega-3-fatty acids, biotin, tyrosine and tryptophan – which is the amino acid precursor to feel-good hormone serotonin.
  • Dark chocolate. Dark chocolate is high in magnesium which can aid in easing muscular pain. It is also associated with reducing stress and stabilizing mood.
  • Green tea. Green tea is loaded with L-theanine which is associated with boosting the mood.
  • Salmon. This pink fishy wonder is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, which reduces inflammation and may help improve mood.
  • Yogurt. Yogurt has probiotics and new research is showing a connection between the gut health and mental health. Look for plain yogurt and add your own fruit to provide sweetness.
  • Blueberries. Referred to as a superfood, blueberries are high in polyphenols, antioxidants, and folate which are linked to increasing serotonin production. This fruit really is super, plus it is high in fiber which help feed your healthy gut bacteria.
  • Turmeric. This seasoning traditionally used in Indian foods has been shown to extend the effects of serotonin.
  • Nuts. These protein-packed perfect pocket snacks provide a good amount of tryptophan which is the precursor to serotonin.
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Including these items in the diet may help shake off those winter blues.

For one mood enhancing treat combine ½ cup with plain Greek yogurt and top with a handful of blueberries and a tablespoon or two of nuts.



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