Do you feel less motivated and ready to head to bed at 7 pm? Are you generally feeling a little low?
Us too! While it’s normal this time of year to slow down and go inward, we also notice that we can start to feel a little depressed.
On a biological level, when light decreases it can have a true chemical impact on us. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a very real thing – it’s not “all in your head.”
Sunlight is a nutrient. It makes us feel vibrant and full of life.
So when we’re not getting as much light, we take a holistic approach to get our happy juices flowing. Today we’re sharing our top 8 mood-boosting foods to help you break out of those cold weather blahs!
Each of these foods contains key vitamins and minerals that will nourish your brain and soul.
And foods aside, there are physical habits you can try that will also help you feel great in no time. One of the biggest tips we can share is to get early morning sunlight on your eyes every day (as early as you possibly can).
Even just a few minutes of sunlight exposure increases daytime energy and improves sleep and mood. It’s also proven to promote a more positive outlook! And this habit is even more effective if you turn it into a little morning stroll around the block.
So get outside, move your body a little, and work on getting a couple (or all) of these 8 mood-boosting foods into your winter diet:
8 Mood-Boosting Foods
- Salmon. This fatty fish is a great source of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, both of which can influence mood and play a big role in serotonin production.
- Pistachios. Nuts give your serotonin levels a big boost thanks to their healthy dose of mood-improving vitamin B6 – and pistachios contain the most! Just 1 ounce of pistachios provides 25 percent of your daily value of B6.
- Bananas. Bananas provide potassium, vitamin B6, and the mood-regulating amino acid, tryptophan.
- Spinach. Dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale, mustard greens, and broccoli are rich in folate. Folate aids in the production of dopamine, which enhances activity in the positive reward center of the brain. Try our Spinach Artichoke Dip for a tasty folate-packed snack!
- Lentils. Lentils (like the ones found in our Chipotle Lime Lentil Burger) are rich in fiber, which helps feed the gut microbiome and regulate blood sugar for a more stable mood. They also have lots of zinc, magnesium, selenium, and B vitamins, all of which help lift your mood.
- Kimchi. Fermented foods like kimchi, yogurt, kefir, and kombucha are a potent source of gut-healthy probiotics. The gut microbiome, which plays a role in brain function, produces up to 90% of the body’s serotonin. Studies suggest a link between an unhealthy gut and low mood and show that the bacteria in fermented foods helps decrease depression.
- Green Tea. One study found that drinking green tea four times per day lowers depression symptoms. This is likely because it contains L-theanine, an amino acid that aids in treating anxiety.
- Blueberries. Blueberries are powerhouses of vitamin C and flavonoids that help combat stress and increase mood. They’re also great for your gut with plenty of dietary fiber! Try our Lemon Blueberry Smoothie in the Conscious Cleanse Cookbook.
What do you do to lift your mood in the winter months? Let us know in the comments below!
With love and winter coziness,
The Conscious Cleanse Team
If you liked this post, we invite you to join our online community! When you join, you’ll receive regular new recipes and healthy lifestyle tips. As a welcome gift, we’ll send you our FREE Healthy Soups eCookbook, a collection of some of our favorite soup recipes!
Welcome! We’re so glad you’re here.