Good food helps beat the winter blues

We often hear people say that they feel like hibernating and filling up on stodgy winter food during the dark, cold winter days.

With the third Monday in January renowned for being most depressing day of year, when the first days of January, full of good intentions and optimism have passed, we are faced with dark days and cold weather.

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Dietitian Clare Harrington at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust said: “What we eat can help to ease the symptoms of the winter blues. Just like a car needs fuel to run efficiently, you need to feed your brain regularly with the right nutrients for it to work properly.

“Healthy eating shouldn’t be a chore. It is easy to find ways to eat healthy, balanced, regular meals. You can enjoy food by finding new ways of preparing meals and eating healthy alternatives.

“Good nutrition is important for our physical and mental health. At a time when you may feel your energy levels are at their lowest, it is really important to eat regularly. Skipping meals results in low blood sugar levels, which will leave you feeling tired, irritable, unable to concentrate and very hungry.”

To feel good, there are plenty of foods which you can eat, so you are less likely to overeat and lack energy.

You can help yourself by:

  • starting the day with a good breakfast such as a wholegrain cereal, porridge, fruit and yoghurt or multigrain toast with a poached egg
  • choosing foods which are rich in protein keep you feeling full, such as lean meat, oily fish, eggs, nuts, seeds and pulses
  • minimising the amount of processed foods you eat such as ready meals, cakes and biscuits, as they tend to be higher in salt and sugar
  • eating five portions of fruit and vegetables each day – for example a glass of unsweetened fruit juice at breakfast or some vegetable soup for lunch or simply as snacks e.g. a handful of dried or fresh fruit between meals
  • drinking six to eight glasses of fluid each day – this should be non-caffeinated drinks such as water, herbal teas, squash, milk; as even slight dehydration can affect your mood
  • limiting your alcohol intake, as drinking can disturb sleep, cause dehydration and leave you feeling anxious and depressed

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