10 Nutrition Tips to Prevent the Winter Blues

Danielle Van Schaick, BASc, RD
Head Registered Dietitian
Dani Health & Nutrition Services

1. Go easy on comfort foods. Mac n’ cheese and apple pie might make you feel better in the short term, but a high intake of refined foods will zap your energy levels.

2. When the sunshine goes, so too does the “happy hormone” serotonin which causes the body to cry out for carbohydrates. Go for wholegrain bread, oats, and brown rice.

3. Prevent, or get rid of, cold and flus by taking garlic, vitamin C and yogurt with probiotics.

4. Low sun levels mean it’s harder to get the vitamin D your bones need to stay healthy. Eat food rich in vitamin D, including oily fish, egg yolks and margarine. A daily supplement (1000IU) might also be recommended.

5. It may be pouring buckets and you may be cold, but keep glugging back the water. Staying hydrated assists in flushing toxins out of your body, metabolizes fat more efficiently and allows the nervous system to work more effectively, helping you feel better all around. Warm water or a decaffeinated tea is also a good option.

6. Colourful fruit and vegetables are high in immune-enhancing antioxidants. Aim to eat orange root vegetables, citrus fruits or broccoli every day.

7. Eat seasonally. You’ll get the freshest produce containing the healthiest minerals and vitamins – and you will save a bit of money too.

8. Even marginal deficiencies of the B vitamins have been associated with irritability, depression, and mood changes. If this sounds like you, be sure your diet is stacked full of foods high in vitamin B6 such as meat, fish, poultry, whole grains, bananas, and potatoes.

9. As well as boosting physical energy levels, bananas have a beneficial effect on mental and sexual energy. Bananas are stuffed full of serotonin, a feel good, mood lifting substance that peps you up, and dopamine, which is important for emotional balance.

10. Omega-3s can elevate mood and reduce depression. Fatty fish and fish oil supplements should be part of your winter diet. However, it does take time—several weeks at least—to benefit from dietary omega-3s, so get started now, be a bit patient, and look forward to feeling better and having more energy.

Danielle Van Schaick, BASc, RD
Head Registered Dietitian
Dani Health & Nutrition Services
(250) 380-3847

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