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10 Tips To Improve Your Winter Mood

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10 Tips To Improve Your Winter Mood

By Randy Fritz

Don’t Let SAD Get You Down

In winter time when the days are short, many people (mostly women) suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

SAD was once thought of as a “silly mood” that you should be shaking off with a bit of positive thinking and some hard work.  Now it has now been recognized as a real physiological condition with real causes and luckily, real strategies to help.

Winter Blues is the Most Common Kind of SAD.  Its Symptoms Include:
•    Depression and/or hopelessness,
•    Anxiety,
•    Oversleeping,
•    Cravings and weight gain
•    Difficulty concentrating and processing

Everyone experiences some of these at some time so it is worth knowing how to deal with this process.

Serotonin: The Big Culprit

All of these low mood symptoms are directly associated with low levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter.
Proper levels of serotonin are created in the brain when there is the proper balance of tryptophan, an amino acid, certain B vitamins, and certain enzymes. Its creation is also influenced by blood sugars, fatty acids and the correct balance of melatonin – the “sleep hormone.”

It’s all in the balance.

You can try to “fix” this condition with drugs but that can throw the body out of balance and create even worse symptoms. The best solutions involve using whole foods that have been proven for thousands of years to help nourish the body to a state of happiness and simple strategies that bring our daily routine into a more natural rhythm.

10 Foods and Fixes:

1. Eat Your Whole Grains
All whole foods have amino acids (proteins) in different quantities. For serotonin to be produced you need a higher percentage of tryptophan than other amino acids in your blood stream. A moderate amount of carbohydrates will create this proper percentage. Whole grains (smart carbs) certainly have tryptophan and their carbohydrate content also allows the tryptophan to be a high enough percentage so it can get to the brain where it is needed. Whole grains also contain B vitamins which help the tryptophan to be converted to serotonin.

The grain that has the highest percent of tryptophan is buckwheat, but most grains work well. They are complex enough and have enough fiber that the sugars are released into your blood stream slowly. This prevents the energy highs and lows which also affects your moods. Brown rice is one of those properly balanced grains. For a sugerless tasty brown rice pudding click here: Rice Pudding.

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Diana Herrington

Diana Herrington turned a debilitating health crisis into a passion for helping others with healthy, sugar-free, gluten-free, eating and cooking. After testing and researching every possible healthy therapy on her delicate system she has developed simple, powerful principles which she shares in her recent book Eating Green and Lean, and as host to Care2 groups: Healthy Living Network and Healthy Cooking. She is the head chef at Real Food for Life, where she shares recipes and tips. Sign up for the Real Food for Life weekly newsletter or catch her on Facebook or Twitter (@DancinginLife).

46 comments

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5:56AM PST on Nov 9, 2013

On the gloomy winter days I use the daylight bulbs in my North facing Canadian apartment and it makes a huge difference in how I feel. That and a brisk walk outside really helps clear the cobwebs and brightens my mood.

4:15PM PST on Feb 26, 2012

Thanks.

2:36AM PST on Feb 16, 2012

You know this article was MUCH more helpful than the one that had Seasonal Affective Disorder in the actual title of the article....Thanks!!

9:52PM PST on Feb 15, 2012

This is all good advice. Taking a vacation to someplace sunny and warm can also help, but isn't always an option for everyone.

10:15AM PST on Feb 15, 2012

Eating chocolate does help for a little while.

6:15PM PST on Feb 7, 2012

Exercise outdoors!

2:14AM PST on Feb 1, 2012

I don't know if I have SAD, but I don't seem to have any energy at all right now.

I will try some of these ideas and see if they work.

6:26PM PST on Jan 26, 2012

TY

5:07PM PST on Jan 24, 2012

Thanks

9:34PM PST on Jan 22, 2012

I like the advice and I can see what this hard work push that I manage with stimulants (caffeine and chocolate), going to bed late, and long exerciseless hours in the office does to offset all of the other good things I do on the list...

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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