Beat the Winter Blues

The summer months make it easy for us to get all of the nutrients we need. With an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables, time in the sun, increased physical exercise, and yes, even the occasional scoop of ice cream (we count that as dairy!), we’ve got our bases covered. In the thick of winter, it can be more difficult to get adequate nutrition, and every part of our health—including our mood—can take a hit.

Changes in mood during the winter are primarily due to the lack of daily sunlight we experience. Sunlight is necessary for our bodies to produce vitamin D, which improves mood by helping to create serotonin. Serotonin, a neurotransmitter, contributes to feelings of wellbeing and happiness. Essentially, the more serotonin we have, the happier we feel. With less exposure to sunlight, and therefore less vitamin D, our serotonin dips.

Another trigger for serotonin production comes from our food. When we eat carbohydrates, serotonin is released, giving us that feeling of pleasure and causing us to crave more starchy foods. Carbohydrates are not an enemy—they’re important! To fuel your body with a full variety of nutrients while stimulating serotonin production, enjoy a variety of foods and smart carbs.

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