Winter is a great time to feed your body and soul with mood-boosting foods and drinks. The gut is the gateway to overall good health, including helping to fight mild seasonal depression, mood imbalances and SAD (seasonal affective disorder).
Symptoms of SAD, Include lack of energy, difficulty concentrating, irritability, increase in anxiety, difficulty sleeping, general feeling of sadness. Disruptions in serotonin and melatonin are the main reasons for these chemical imbalances.
Do you get any of these symptoms in winter? Maybe time to give your gut health a boost.
But Why Do We Get SAD in Winter?
The light levels drop dramatically, which reduces your Vitamin D and mineral levels, then add to that, we get couped up inside more, so have less exercise and access to nature, plus an increase in processed, sugary foods which do nothing to nourish our gut and you have a mood un-stabilizing cocktail.
How To Beat The Winter Blues?
There are many ways to decrease your chances of getting SAD, over winter. Taking gentle exercise 3 times a week for 20 minutes, seeking some therapy to help you through any mild depression and one of the biggest factors to boost your mood this winter is with diet and nutrition.
Doctor Raphael Kellman, MD, author of the book ‘The microbiome Diet’ says “Probiotic supplementation can radically alter the health and function of the entire body—including our mood,”
Fermented Foods V Probiotics?
The best way to nourish your gut is cut out the foods which increase bad bacteria to thrive, which include processed foods and drinks, sugar and wheat and include lots of green leafy vegetables, fruits and raw probiotic-rich foods and drinks.
By supplementing your body with a probiotic, over time will have an impact on every area of your health including your mental health.
Consuming a fermented food or drink product like Kefir, Kimchi, Kombucha and Saurakrut has been proven to be an excellent preventative measure. By eating a variety of fermented food and drinks on a regular basis, you are providing the body with a cross-section of strains a manufactured probiotic cannot match. Prebiotics feed the residential bacteria and help them colonize.
Unlike a probiotic supplement, fermented foods and drinks, contain vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that are all more bioavailable to the body. They can also be incorporated into your daily diet with delicious recipes.
Reach For The Light
Research has shown that artificial lights which simulate sun rays, can help fight winter depression. Just 30 mins a day sat next to an artificial light box, can improve anxiety, irritability, and mild depression. Even better, exercise under bright lights has been proven in a preliminary study to improve general mental health, social functioning, depressive symptoms, and vitality. Even though the light levels might be low, pull back the curtains, sit near windows when working and get at least 60 mins of fresh air in full daylight a day.
So stock your cupboards with probiotic-rich goodness this winter and reap the benefits, with high energy levels, increased stabilised moods and an overall feeling of happiness.
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