Feeling depressed lately? Wondering if winter will ever turn cold, greyish overcast days into tulips and songbirds? You’re not alone. Weather can drastically affect our moods, causing sluggishness and depression and it’s been a very long, tough winter. In your heart you know many are far worse off and God has blessed you richly, so you ask, why am I so moody lately?
Psalm 3:3, “But you, O LORD, are a shield around me; you are my glory, the one who holds my head high.”
I’ve dedicated this post to my friend who longs for overcast, rainy days because she literally goes outside and dances in the rain! Now that’s an upbeat faith-based attitude! She obviously produces more serotonin than most. I need sunshine!!! I admit overcast days make me grumpy and sad. There are ways however to fight depression simply by modifying our diet!
Whenever I see someone depressed, I wonder what are they eating? Have you ever met anyone from Latin America or the Mediterranean who isn’t vibrantly alive?! I believe that inner vibrancy originates from the foods they consume. Another advantage; they have more sunshine! Vitamin D, derived from the sun as well as foods, improves temperament. So if your spirit changes on overcast days as mine does, I’d advise changing your diet or moving to Capri . . . but changing our diet is easier.
Mediterranean residents consume nutrient-dense garlic, onions, olive oil, fish, cayenne and other spices! (One reason why I consistently recommend a Mediterranean Diet!) Hot spicy foods release mood elevating endorphins, so load up on the tabasco sauce, horseradish, curry, chili peppers and wasabi! How it works: These spicy foods send false pain signals to the brain, stating something’s amiss, possibly a threat. Then tiny chemical firemen run to our brain, hosing down those spicy signals with serotonin, which improves positive brain chemistry. Voila’, happy again.
Do you crave sweets on cloudy days? There’s a perfectly good reason for that. Sugar distributes feel-good endorphins which the body subconsciously craves to improve biochemical balance. Simple carbohydrates dispenses serotonin which calms and boosts feel-good chemicals . . . at least for a little while. But too much sugar releases too much insulin, quickly crashing our mood by making us acidic, sullen and irritable! Remember carbohydrates will only last in our system for 1-3 hours, so reach for slow releasing insulin, high-fiber carbs for mood stability, adding a little lean protein. Eat every 4 hours to stabilize blood sugar.
For best results. start your morning with soothing, B vitamin packed, calming oatmeal. Add cinnamon, (an insulin regulator) raisins or other dried fruit. Consider adding walnuts, almonds or pecans. This combination of the feel-good amino acid tryptophan, is the precursor of the neurotransmitter serotonin.
In addition, practice these definite mood boosters!
- Garlic contains nearly 100 nutrients that work together to boost health and mood!
- The much maligned egg contains nutrients B12, D and choline, necessary for cheerful brain function.
- Omega-3 fatty acids: salmon, tuna, anchovies, are also rich in vitamin B12, another mood booster.
- B6 balances estrogen/progesterone levels, so consume chicken breast, pork, wheat bran, nuts during ‘down’ times.
- Turkey contains the amino acid, tryptophan, the precursor to helping the body make serotonin.
- Include Vitamin C foods. Red peppers contain more per unit than oranges. Also eat cantaloupe, broccoli, strawberries, cabbage, spinach, and baked potatoes.
- Dark Greens, bananas, flounder, oats and other whole grains are rich in folate, B6 and magnesium which increase dopamine levels. Magnesium deficiencies impair estrogen metabolism which causes moodiness. Think PMS.
- Increase low-fat, calcium rich foods and Lactium which reduces anxiety and irritability. Combine with magnesium foods for better sleep.
- Serotonin can be released in other ways besides eating. Go outside! A daily walk and fresh air also releases serotonin.
Take positive steps to overcome temporary moodiness. Remember, God is your stronghold!
Psalms 42:11, ” Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.”