Winter Wellness

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Do you feel like you have less energy during the winter months accompanied by a feeling of depression?

Then you may be suffering from winter blues. It is estimated that 1 in 10 people in the UK suffer from the winter blues. The good news is that simple changes made through diet, supplements and lifestyle could really make the difference to how you feel.

As the days get colder, our bodies tend to crave food that gives our bodies a sense of warmth. However it is important that we choose nutritious wholesome food which support and boost our immune system, and at the same time provide us with mood boosting nutrients.

We should aim to eat sweet potatoes, turnips, parsnips, and garlic. These are high in vitamin A and C which will help build the immune system and ward off illness. Garlics antiviral and antifungal properties makes it a valuable winter essential to ward off colds and keep the immune system alert.

Oats and quinoa are warming grains that can be a very good addition to out winter meals. Pulses that are good are beans, lentils and adzuki, which are low in fat, high in protein, complex carbohydrate and fibrous, containing a wide array of nutrients. They can be added to any soup to create some bulk and give you a more filling feeling. Nutrient-rich whole foods such as apples, pears, berries and vegetables, are all required to boost our immune system.

Mood boosting foods:

To improve mood we need to look at foods that increase levels of serotonin, the brains happy neurotransmitter. A protein called tryptophan is converted in the body to serotonin, so we need to increase our intake of foods rich in tryptophan. This can be found in foods such as fish, turkey, chicken, cottage cheese, avocadoes and bananas. Also, eating foods rich in omega 3 essential fatty acids (found in oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and tuna, and also in seeds) is thought to stave off depression as it acts on serotonin function in the brain.


Less exposure to sunlight causes brain levels of serotonin - the happy transmitter

- to fall, as natural light stimulates the production of serotonin.

Therefore try to wake up at a time where you can see natural light, and that will help to stimulate the natural production of serotonin from the brain, giving a natural mood boosting feeling.

Things to Avoid

- Try to avoid eating too much dairy produce as they are mucous forming and wont help if you are prone to colds or chesty coughs.

- Try to reduce your refined salt and caffeine intake. This is good advice at
any time of the year and even more so during the winter when your lymphatic,
immune systems and liver are busy trying to keep you healthy.

- Try to avoid refined foods. These will have almost none of the nutrients that fresh foods have and could actually be more difficult for your body to deal with.

- Try to avoid alcohol. It can deprive you of essential immune boosting nutrients which are much needed at this time.

All information contained in this newsletter is for information purposes only and should not replace the advice given by your Doctor.

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