Five Mood-Boosting Tips for Winter

1.   Load up on Fruits & Vegetables

 

Chronic stress can weaken our ability to fight disease. By upping our intake of antioxidant-rich fruits & vegetables, we can boost our immune system. Squash, butternut & carrots are examples of great sources of the antioxidant beta-carotene. Dark green leafy veg, guavas & citrus fruits provide plenty of vitamin C, which is another potent free-radical fighter. Add some antioxidant rich & warming herbs & spices to your meals like chillies, ginger, cinnamon & turmeric, for an instant pick-me-up!

 

2.   Skip the Sugar

 

Sugar tends to calm us—at first. The problem with sugar is that it’s a simple carbohydrate, so it enters & then leaves the bloodstream rapidly – causing a temporary “high” and then a “crash”). On the other hand, the complex carbohydrates found in wholegrains, beans, lentils & other legumes, soothe without bringing us down with that “crash”.

 

3.   Favour Fibre & Carbohydrates

 

Carbohydrates (especially complex ones) cause the brain to produce more serotonin, a hormone that relaxes us. Also, a diet high in fibre fills you up & helps prevent late-night binging. Aim to eat the unprocessed & unrefined carbohydrates for balanced blood glucose levels.  Some examples of healthy comfort foods include baked sweet potatoes, hearty vegetable soup, or stir-fried vegetables with rice (Basmati or Brown).

 

4.   Fight the Fat

 

Fatty foods such as meat or cheese dishes contribute to making us feel lethargic as the body metabolises the excess fat & calories. This is clearly not a good way to reduce stress. Some studies have found that even one high-fat meal can increase our risk of a heart attack. So definitely stay away from those deep-fried chips, samoosa & koeksisters – even though they are ‘calling’ you!

 

5.   Can the Caffeine

 

Many of us deal with a stress-induced lack of sleep by turning to coffee, tea & cola drinks. Unfortunately, for some people, caffeine stays in the bloodstream longer than many realise & tends to rev up our metabolism – making us reach for more food! Cutting back on caffeine can also help with sleeping problems, blood glucose levels, liver function & mood swings.

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