The stretch from the holidays till springtime is rough. Don’t get me wrong. Winter isn’t all that bad! We have skiing, snow, and excuses to stay in and be lazy when it’s cold outside. Despite these great things the winter months can be depressing, it’s dark all the time and we find ourselves fighting fatigue, colds, and stress. What we often forget is that we can combat these winter month symptoms with food! Food is not only our fuel but medicine too. Eating right goes a long way. Here are some foods to battle the common ails of winter months:
1. Superfood to fight fatigue: chia seeds
Don’t discredit these guys! Despite how tiny they are, they still do a lot for your health. Chia seeds are a good source of omega-3-fatty acids, antioxidants, fiber, iron, and calcium. Because of this chia seeds are great for prolonged energy. In a small study, chia seeds offered as much energy as carbohydrate sports drinks for endurance athletes. Even if you aren’t running marathons, you can still add chia seeds to your morning smoothie, sprinkle it in your yogurt, oatmeal or afternoon salad.
Image courtesy of Healthline
2. Superfood to fight the cold: cashews
Cashews are a great source of healthy fats and satiating protein, making them a great healthy snack. Cashews are also rich in the mineral zinc. Research has shown that zinc-containing lozenges were beneficial in reducing the severity and duration of common colds. Along with its cold-fighting abilities, zinc has been thought to a play a role in how our neurons communicate with each other, which affects how our memories are formed and how we learn. It is best to get our vitamins and minerals from foods rather than supplements or medicines. Fuel up on cashews as a snack to help you study or to ward off that annoying winter cold.
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3. Superfood for skin: avocados
Who doesn’t love avocados?! Avocados are good for your skin as they are high in poly and monounsaturated fatty acids. These healthy fats are good for your skin because they help moisturize it. Along with healthy fats, avocados are also filled with antioxidants, which hold anti-inflammatory properties and help keep your skin looking fresh and clear during these winter months.
Image courtesy of Healthline
4. Superfoods to fight depression: balanced diet, berries and fruit
As much as we hate to admit, the constant darkness in the winter can lead to lack of motivation and depression. What we forget is that we can fight this “down in the dump” feeling with a good diet. Eating a diet that is full of fresh and whole foods and low in refined sugars is good to fight fatigue and depression as these foods control your blood sugar. Specific foods to focus on are your fruits that are high in antioxidants and fiber. For example, apples and berries both are good sources of antioxidants and fiber. Antioxidants fight inflammation in your cells and fiber balances mood swings and it beneficial for your gut. Since, berries can be expensive, buy frozen berries instead and use them to make a smoothie or put on top of warm oatmeal.
Image courtesy of Beaming Baker
Like I said, focus on whole foods to beat the fatigue, skin dryness and “down in the dump” feelings that come with winter. More importantly, focus on what works for you. Eat mindfully and try to consume foods you know make you feel better. The foods I mentioned are good because of the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that they contain. Look up what you eat, find out what is in it and see if it contains some of the beneficial minerals or nutrients I listed above. You can do this to improve your diet or broaden it!