Can Your Diet Cut Out The Winter Blues?

Words by Sarah Hitchman

It only seems like yesterday I was offering you advice on how to prepare and look after yourself over the summer months; however it seems the time has come to start considering repairing and healing after all that fun in the sun.

So as we are all aware, spending time in the sun has its advantages and disadvantages. We benefit hugely from the feel good factor of the sun and I am sure we all take care to protect ourselves from its harmful rays. However, our mood, skin hair and nails can all suffer through other activities undertaken whilst the days are long and warm.

Mood and general well being are up there with the biggest negative to facing the cold damp days after an amazing summer. Sunlight increases our intake of vitamin D which has a lot to answer for in the smiling stakes, add some of these to your daily diet to maintain if not boost the feel good vitamin levels:

1 – Oily fish such as salmon, sardines and mackerel are brilliant providers of vitamin D, with an increase of omega 3 fatty acids, which are believed to raise levels of the brain chemical serotonin.

2- Eat 5 Brazil nuts daily as they are full of the mineral selenium which will reduce symptoms of irritability, anxiety and tiredness.

3- Oats that are low in glycaemic index provide slow releasing energy stabilising blood sugar levels and therefore keep you in a consistently happier mood.

4- A banana contains vitamin B6 and the important amino acid tryptophan. Uplifting carbohydrates assist in the absorption of this acid in the brain and paired with vitamin B6 convert into high levels of serotonin.

Now onto the other issues such as skin, hair and nails as these can really be damaged during the summer months. Over exposure to the sun, sea, salt and chlorine can cause tissue damage; incorporate the following suggestions into your diet to gain a noticeable improvement:

1-Bone broth from a chicken or turkey is full of amino acids, collagen and minerals that not only reduce inflammation but nourish your cells. Try making your own soup to warm the autumn month’s repair.

2- Vitamin C assists with iron absorption which promotes collagen production. It is obtained from foods such as citrus fruits, broccoli and spinach but most efficiently in supplement form.

3- Increase your protein intake by adding meat poultry and eggs to your daily plan. Protein acts as a building block and is therefore essential in the healing process.

4- Epsom salt are a favourite of mine as they have so many benefits; firstly the salts are good for balancing blood sugar levels; beneficial after an increased intake of sugary drinks and alcohol over the summer. The salts are proven to add body to your hair, provide excellent healing for insect bites or uneven patches caused by the sun and leave your skin feeling soft and smooth.

5- Milk thistle is an effective herb obtained from the health food shop. Its qualities detoxify the liver, which will make you feel more energised and the cleaner your liver the more fat it will metabolise.

I often see a decrease in training during the winter months, I do understand that once we no longer have to bare all constantly we can relax and finally breathe out, however, fitness levels shouldn’t suffer. It is vital for not only cosmetic reasons that we maintain a healthy body but also as it is moderate exercise that keeps our joints, muscles, bones and respiratory system well.

Following these simple and easy suggestions can help you to say goodbye to the effects that the lovely sunshine has on us and prepare for a snugly winter in front of the fire.