How to Beat the Blues with Good Food, Exercise, and Gratitude!
While spring has sprung, the winter weather is still lingering in the air. As I write this newsletter the sky is dark and snow has started to lightly fall. I woke up today with a bout of the blues. I am not sure if it is due to the gloomy weather or the looming work week that is creeping ahead.
It may also be the fact that I indulged a little too much last night. I had gone to a St Patrick’s day dinner filled with all kind of goodies. Between the Irish soda bread and the taste of Italian pastries, I had too much sugar.
Research suggests that sugar causes damage to body cells and tissues. This inflammation can also wreck havoc on brain cells affecting a person’s mood.
So what can you to do avoid this?
Work Out, Eat Well, and Have Gratitude:
Instead of wallowing in a bad mood, I took advice from my boyfriend Art who told me to go to the gym. He said I would feel better and he was right. I got on the treadmill and 30 minutes later I sweated out the toxins.
Take time for yourself to get 30 to 60 minutes of cardio activity at least three times per week. This includes walking, jogging, swimming, biking, or running. This movement will give you the endorphins you need to change your mindset.
Eat Right & Get Your Vitamins!
You want to make sure your getting all the nutrients you need to thrive. This includes drinking plenty of water and eating a well balanced diet filled with vegetables, healthy fats, protein, and some fruit. Additionally you want to make sure your body has enough vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, and B vitamins specifically folate and B12. These vitamins are integral to help with energy and mood stabilization.
Vitamin D: This vitamin is known to help fight inflammation, but the connection between vitamin D and brain health is not so clear cut. Research shows there are vitamin D receptors on the surface of cells in parts of the brain that have been linked with the development of depression. One theory states vitamin D may increase seratonin. Seratonin is a brain chemical that helps to regulate mood, appetite, and sleep. You can get a blood test to see if your levels are low. Supplements may be recommended depending on your status. I like taking Seeking Health’s Liquid D3 drops especially during the winter months. Alternatively, if supplements are not for you, getting 15 minutes of sunshine two to three times a week may also do the trick.
Essential Fatty Acids: Omega 3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory and also help to absorb fat soluble vitamins A,D, E, and K. They have been found to help with brain health. These can be found in flax and chia seeds, avocados, fatty fish, flax seed oil, English walnuts, and pumpkin seeds.
B Vitamins: B Vitamins work as catalyst in the body to initiate chemical reactions. They help to give you energy.
Folate: This is needed for cell division and to make DNA and other genetic material. It is found in green vegetables like asparagus, Brussels sprouts and dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach and mustard greens. It is also found in nuts.
Vitamin B12: Helps with mental ability as well by keeping blood and nerve cells healthy. This vitamin depends on folate to work properly in the body. A B12 or folate deficiency will create large, underdeveloped red blood cells to form. This disease limits how much oxygen is carried through the body causing individuals to feel weak and tired. B12 is only found in animal sources such as eggs and meats like grass fed liver. B12 is a very important nutrient and everyone should get their levels tested. People who have pernicious anemia cannot absorb B12 by regular digestion and must supplement the vitamin. Vegans and Vegetarians should supplement because they do not get this nutrient. The B12 supplement that I like to use is a methylcobalamin sublingual. Methylcobalamin is the active form of B12. The sublingual drops dissolve in the mouth and go straight into the bloodstream. This is good for people who are not able to absorb the vitamin from regular digestion.
After going to the gym, I started to think about all the things I am thankful for and it put me in good spirits. This includes having all of you as my readers. I am grateful to have you taking the time to open and read my articles. Furthermore, keeping a positive attitude will help to maintain a healthy brain and combat the blues.