5 Ways to Combat the Winter Blues with Food

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by Ella Besserer and Laura Reid, Dietician

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a mood or depression disorder. It happens when the seasons change from spring & summer, to fall & winter1. Many studies have found that changes in lifestyle and nutrition can have improve our mood. Changes include:

1. Increasing omega-3 fatty acids

These nutrients have a huge impact on brain health. Foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids include fish, walnuts, flax and enriched eggs1.

2. Getting enough Vitamin D

Vitamin D is very important for many aspects of health. One of the most important being bone health. Food source of Vitamin D include fatty fish, eggs, fortified milk. A Vitamin D supplement may be needed in Canada1.

3. Balancing diet and lifestyle

The Canada’s Food Guide can help keep things balanced. Make sure you are eating enough fruits and vegetables, whole grains, dairy, and protein. These food groups keep us energized and improve our mood.

4. Eating foods that break down slowly

Food that we put in our body that is processed is like putting woodchips on a fire. The woodchips get burned up very quickly in the body. This can lead to being tired and weight gain1. Try and eat foods such as whole grains, oatmeal, and brown rice for example. They break down more slowly in the body and provide more energy during the day1.

5. Exercising everyday

Try to get 30 minutes of exercise daily. Exercise outdoors for fresh air and sunlight. Remember to fuel up with fruits and veggies. Why not make a smoothie? It’s a great way to get the maximum amount of nutrients from a variety of foods you like …and can even blend in nutritious foods that you might not like.

Other foods that are good for fighting off the winter blues include: clementines, winter squash, sweet potatoes, and lastly cauliflower2.

Ella Besserer, BSc HNU Dietetic Intern


1Danahy, A. (2015). Seasonal affective disorder: Diet and lifestyle. Retrieved from http://www.nutrition411.com/articles/seasonal-affective-disorder-diet-and-lifestyle-interventions/page/0/1

2 Cording, J. (2015). The best winter foods for kids. Retrieved from http://www.eatright.org/resource/food/planning-and-prep/cooking-tips-and-trends/the-best-winter-foods-for-kids

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