According to the National Institute of Health, “winter blues” can be characterised as seasonal depression, which is a type of depression that typically plagues people during winter. There are several ways to combat this depression, including consuming certain hearty and mood-boosting foods, such as green vegetables, citrus fruits, and nuts.
Winter can be a tough time for many people with the shorter days, biting cold, and lack of sunlight giving rise to something health and medical experts categorise as “seasonal depression.” Some of the symptoms associated with this short term depression, as enumerated by the National Institute of Health, are mood swings, fatigue, increased irritability, and reduced interest in one’s daily life and activities. People residing in North India are particularly susceptible to this form of depression as the region is marked by extreme winters that often result in flight delays, school closures, and other similar disruptions in one’s routine.
Research conducted by the American Psychological Association indicates that there is a direct connection between one’s mental health and the foods they consume. For instance, it is believed that a poor diet, comprising lots of processed foods, can lead to the development of mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression. Inversely, a nutritious, vegetable and protein-rich diet, comprising foods known as “mood boosters” can help manage these conditions and aid one in staying on top of the winter blues. Here is a list of five mood boosters to help people, particularly those in North India, fight seasonal winter depression.
Citrus fruits are an excellent source of Vitamin C, guarding against cell and tissue damage, among other things. When feeling under the weather, it is recommended to eat an orange or a grapefruit, or drink a glass of lemon juice. Studies have shown that these foods can assist in dealing with depression or listlessness. Fruits, in general, are considered mood boosters as several of them, especially dark berries, emit neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and serotonin that ting the pleasure centre of the brain, and thus, help keep feelings of doom and gloom at bay.
Similar to fruits, nuts are vital sources of neurotransmitters, which are effective in battling depression and other mental health conditions as they activate the pleasure centre of the brain. Nuts are some of the most powerful brain-boosting foods, therefore strive to include them in your daily diet. Almonds, pecans, walnuts, among others, are easily accessible and can be seamlessly blended with other food items. Doctors also frequently recommend nuts to insomianics as, like green vegetables, they comprise a high level of magnesium, which helps regulate one’s sleep-wake cycle.
There are several benefits associated with consuming fresh, green, leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, bok choy, and collard greens Being abundant in Vitamin B as well as rich sources of fibre, they help boost memory as well as bring down the threat of heart-related ailments. Green vegetables are also teeming with nutrients, such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium, which are instrumental balancing one’s stress hormones, and in turn, the sleep cycle. Be sure to remember these health benefits the next time you are hesitant to eat your greens!
This one goes out to all the chocolate lovers out there! When taken in moderation, dark chocolate has proven to be highly effective in combatting depressive moods. Akin to berries, dark chocolate releases a chemical known as serotonin which is one of the potent natural anti-depressants. Dark chocolate also release endorphins, a chemical that is known engender a feeling of relief and wellbeing, and block out any painful, negative, or stressful feelings. In this way, through dark chocolate, you can satisfy your sweet cravings while simultaneously boosting your mental health wellness.
Protein-rich fish dishes, such as tuna and salmon consist of something known as omega-3 fatty acids that enhance the inner workings of a part of the brain known as the cerebral cortex. This region of the brain handles the sensations of happiness and contentment, boosting positive emotions. Additionally, salmon is packed with Vitamin D, a vitamin that is primarily derived from sunlight, and which is usually in short supply during winter. In this way, in the absence of natural sunlight, fish serves as an important source of Vitamin D.