16 Winter Foods That Boost Your Mood
For many people, shorter days and lower temps means an onset of the winter blahs. And if that describes you, you’re not alone. When winter hits, millions of Americans each year experience seasonal affective disorder. But there’s a solution. Adding plenty of seasonal nutrient-dense foods to your plate can help fight the winter blues. Read on to learn more about foods that boost your mood.
Why do I feel so blue this winter?
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is prompted by shorter daylight hours and less sunlight during the winter months. So, as fall turns to winter, you might experience a shift in your circadian rhythm (internal clock) that can cause a seasonal funk that can manifest in a number of different ways.
Here’s how SAD may affect you:
- Overeating and generally craving carbs
- Gaining weight
- Just wanting to “hibernate”
- Unexplained feeling of sadness or generally feeling down
If SAD is impacting your ability to function, it’s best to have a chat with your doctor. But if you’re looking for natural ways to support a positive mood during winter, knowing the foods that boost your mood is a great place to start. Here’s a list of nutritionally-dense foods and beverages that can help fight the winter blues.
16 winter foods to boost your mood naturally
Dark green leafy vegetables
Did you know eating greens in the fall and winter helps lessen symptoms of SAD? Spinach, for instance, is a plant-based source of iron, which naturally increases energy. In fact: spinach, mustard greens, collard greens, turnip greens, and kale are all rich in mood-boosting B vitamins. And they’re seasonally available.
Kiwi contains serotonin. This key hormone stabilizes mood and creates feelings of well-being and happiness. It’s also loaded in fiber, vitamins A and C, and other antioxidants that help lift mood.
Diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids and B12 improve mood. Fatty fish like wild salmon and tuna are high in two types of omega-3s — DHA and EPA. Studies show that both omega-3s boost mood. So, enjoy twice a week for their mood-boosting benefits.
Turmeric is a spice that’s been long recognized for its medicinal properties, but studies suggest turmeric may also help soothe occasional anxiety and stress.
Mix a half teaspoon of turmeric and black pepper with an ounce of cold water to beat the winter blues. But if a turmeric shot isn’t your thing, enjoy a mug of Golden Superfood Bliss instead. Mix a scoop in your favorite hot or cold plant or dairy milk. You’ll get to enjoy a warming, cozy drink, plus a daily shot of turmeric to improve your mood. *
Eating wholesome carbs like oatmeal is key for fighting SAD. This is because healthy carbs manipulate tryptophan to boost mood. Organic, whole or steel-cut oats are a cozy way to start your day. They also help regulate mood thanks to their low glycemic index which keeps blood sugar levels stable until early afternoon. They’re also a great source of mood-boosting selenium.
Lentils and beans
Lentils and beans are a great source of vitamins like vitamin B6 and folate. Both help keep your dopamine levels stable. Dopamine is a type of neurotransmitter that plays a role in how we feel pleasure. They’re also complex carbohydrates that help to boost the brain’s serotonin levels.
Free-range, organic turkey
Turkey season is upon us, so have your fill. Turkey meat contains tryptophan, an amino acid that helps make you sleepy. But it also leads to the production of serotonin — which improves mood.
A steaming cup of hot organic cacao
Cacao is the root of all chocolate and it’s the ultimate superfood. Unlike commercial chocolate, cacao is not over-processed. Regular cocoa is often supplemented with additives and sugar. The final product usually contains fewer cocoa beans and nutrients; and more dairy, chemicals and pesticides. It’s the polyphenols (or micro nutrients) in raw cacao that boost mood. Cacao also contains anandamide — aka the bliss molecule. *
Earth Echo Cacao Bliss is a tasty and healthier way to get your chocolate fix — and boost your mood. It’s made with raw, “ceremonial grade” cacao, sourced directly from Peru. Sipping on this chocolatey superfood elixir can definitely boost your winter blues. *
If your B vitamins are low, grab some quinoa. It’s high in a variety of B vitamins that help the production of serotonin. This protein-rich, complex carbohydrate is an excellent grain for a plant-based diet — and boosting your winter blahs.
Fermented foods like tempeh, miso, kimchi, and sauerkraut are high in probiotics. They nourish the gut by balancing the beneficial and more harmful bacteria in the gut. Lactobacillus Helveticus and Bifidobacterium longum, two of the most common strains of probiotics found in fermented foods, have been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety and promote good mood.
Bananas are mood-lifting food. They contain complex carbohydrates and are a particularly good source of vitamin B6, both of which are needed to convert tryptophan into serotonin.
Like fatty fish, walnuts are a good source of omega-3s. They help boost mood during the cold winter months. Add walnuts to oatmeal, salads, and grains for brain and mood-boosting nutrition.
The humble egg is full of healthy fats, vitamin D, choline, and protein. All of these nutrients help keep winter blahs at bay. Egg yolks, in particular, are high in vitamins D and E. When possible, always opt for organic eggs.
Luckily avocados are available year-round. They’re a rich source of B vitamins, particularly vitamin B6. B6 is needed for production of serotonin. Avocados’ high fiber content also helps to level blood sugar. That means stabilizing hunger and mood levels.
Raw, unsalted green pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of zinc. Zinc is a mineral needed for the brain, and to stabilize mood.
Drink lots of fluids
Dry indoor air can make your nose, throat, and skin dry. So, make sure you include enough water and other fluids throughout the day. But make sure to choose caffeine-free beverages like Chai Bliss. It’s packed with mood-supporting benefits that help keep you calm, while also helping you stay alert. *
Chai Bliss gives you all the benefits of green tea packed into the aromatic, creamy decadence of Chai. Unlike black tea, you’ll never experience occasional anxiety and restlessness. It’s a true mood booster! *
One decadent cup of Chai Bliss provides:
- A blend of 6 antioxidant-packed spices — ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, clove bud, nutmeg, and black pepper.*
- L-Theanine from green tea which has neurochemical effects on the brain to help you feel calm, focused, and centered.*
- Zinc for immunity, brain health, and mood support.*
- A superfood blend that energizes, clarifies, and relaxes while promoting wellness throughout your body, mind, and spirit.*
This fall and winter, be sure to prioritize foods that boost your mood and indulge in a decadent cup of mood-boosting Chai Bliss. Click the link below to get yours today!
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.