Food to boost your mood

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shutterstock_70881322Winter is well underway, and with it can come the blues. Commonly referred to as seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, the winter blues can be caused by a lack of sunshine and Vitamin D intake, owing to the season’s short, grey days.

Treatment consists of light therapy, also known as phototherapy, which involves frequent exposure to fluorescent lights. In severe cases, medical attention may be required and antidepressants may need to be prescribed.

But for those who are more blah than blue, simple dietary changes are a natural cure to beat winter woes. In fact, with a clear link between food and mood, the below five ingredients will give you just the boost you need to keep smiling until spring thaw.

Chocolate

Good news chocoholics. Nibbling on the sweet treat is known to contribute to contentedness, and not because it tastes good. Chocolate contains mood-enhancing chemicals and neurotransmitters that release a rush of endorphins, making you happy.

Lemon 

Ever wonder why so many products are lemon-scented? The fragrance of fresh lemons has been scientifically proven to promote more positive moods thanks to feel-good chemicals known as norepinephrine, which allow us to think more clearly while calming our nervous system.

Nuts and seeds

Foods rich in Omega 3s – the good fat – such as walnuts and flax seeds, are key to curbing depression. That’s because our brain is made up of 60 per cent fat, and requires Omega-3 fatty acids to function optimally. In fact, scientific evidence suggests those who consume too little Omega-3 fats in their diet are prone to poor moods.

Tea

Taking a tea break is known to be relaxing. But it’s more than ritual that makes the beverage a natural stress-reliever and antidepressant. Researchers have found that theanine, an amino acid in black, green and oolong teas, works with caffeine to improve attention, focus, mental alertness and even creativity.

Mushrooms

Unless you’re flying down south for the season, Vitamin D can be hard to come by during winter. However, there’s a more convenient solution to boost Vitamin D intake, and it’s available in the produce section of your local supermarket. Mushrooms are the only vegetable containing Vitamin D naturally, thanks to a plant sterol called ergosterol. When exposed to ultraviolet light, ergosterol converts to Vitamin D.

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