The holiday season is a wonderful time of year in so many ways, but it can often be a difficult time for many folks. The shifting season makes the temperature colder, days drearier, shorter, and greatly limits the amount of sunlight we get on a regular basis.
These weather-related changes often cause people to experience mood swings and depression, referred to as Seasonal Affective Disorder, SAD, or more simply “the winter blues.” SAD can cause folks to feel particularly unhappy around what should be a wonderful and happy time of the year.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways you can combat the winter blues and help yourself feel better and back to normal, and it all starts with how you eat! There’s that old saying “you are what you eat”, well in the case of good, healthy foods this is true.
Eating healthy foods that are good for you can help you feel good mentally. For food choices that can really make an impact on your mental health during the down wintertime, beans are one of the best options out there! Because of their contents, beans can make a remarkable effect on your battles against SAD.
Beans are full of fiber, which can be an important nutrient for increasing your mood. That is because fiber takes longer to break down and pass through the body than other nutrients and during that time soaks up excess sugar in your body. This process greatly improves and helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels – one of the biggest contributors to your mood.
Aside from fiber, beans are also packed with protein. In fact, they are one of the best non-meat sources of protein you’ll find at your grocery store. Protein is a very valuable nutrient for our bodies because they provide a fuel the body can use for energy in place of sugar. Therefore, protein helps maintain blood sugar levels as well by being used in its place.
Other ways to help
Beans are obviously a great food choice for helping your mood because of their impact on your blood sugar levels, but they aren’t alone. There are plenty of other great foods that can be great additions to your diet, as well as foods to avoid due to the opposite effect they have.
- Fish are a very lean source of protein as well and offer very similar health and mental benefits as beans. They also have omega 3 fatty acids and other nutrients that can help your mood.
- Vitamin D is a nutrient that can have a profound effect on your mood and should be included in your diet during the winter months in particular. This is because our primary source of Vitamin D, sunshine, is limited this time of year. Eggs, cheese, and orange juice are some common examples of sources.
- Avoid processed foods as much as possible as well as other junk foods that are high in fat, carbohydrates, and calories. These foods can provide you extreme but temporary sugar rushes that will cause you to experience a sugar crash that will impact your mood. High-fat foods will also greatly fill you up and weighed down, making you feel lethargic.
- Food isn’t the only way to help your mood in the winter. There are plenty of other activities to help fight the winter blues.
Beans and the other food choices are a great way to help your body and mind feel great all year long, not just during the winter.