Nutritionist Kerry Torrens suggests foods to fend off the blues - packed with the nutrients your body needs to make serotonin, the happy hormone.
Get your daily dose of vitamin D...
Get a daily shot of sunshine with foods rich in vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin associated with better moods. It's found in eggs, oily fish, and fortified breakfast cereals and spreads.
Pack main meals with foods rich in the amino acid tryptophan, a key building block for serotonin. Chicken, venison, oily fish like tuna or salmon, dairy foods, soya, nuts and seeds are good choices. Vitamin B6 - found in brown rice, wholemeal wheat, beans and pulses - will help your body to process it.
If your low mood is linked to tiredness, increase your intake of iron and vitamin B3. Iron is an important co-factor for serotonin production, while your body needs vitamin B3 to access the energy from food. It's found in turkey, fish, eggs and dairy.
Stay well-oiled! Omega-3 fatty acids in oily fish are vital for proper brain function. Vegetarians should choose a good-quality nut or seed oil such as flaxseed or chia seed oil, which are high in omega-3. Their subtle flavour makes them ideal for drizzling on salads and veg.
Snacks with benefits
Stay healthy and banish hunger pangs with one of these snacks next time you need a nibble...
Full of feel-good compounds and high in protective flavonoids, chocolate with a cocoa content of at least 70% has been proven to be good for the heart and help lower blood pressure. Choose a product with minimal added sugar – be sure to read labels and enjoy one or two small squares only.
Portable and handy if you're on the go. Ring the changes with dried figs, a fabulous source of iron, potassium, magnesium and calcium as well as valuable B vitamins. Add dried cranberries to yogurt, and snack on dates for their potassium and fibre content. Combine with a small handful of nuts or seeds for an energising, sustaining snack.
Have you struggled with the winter blues or do you have a secret weapon when it comes to keeping on top of the colder months? Let us know below.
This page was last updated on 6th December 2018.
Kerry Torrens is a qualified Nutritionist (MBANT) with a post graduate diploma in Personalised Nutrition & Nutritional Therapy. She is a member of the British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine (BANT) and a member of the Guild of Food Writers. Over the last 15 years she has been a contributing author to a number of nutritional and cookery publications including BBC Good Food.
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