OPINION – As I assess things that I know I need to change in order to be well, I have to think about what happens to me when Winter first arrives.  I have to admit that I suffer from the “Winter Blues”.  It doesn’t last long but it definitely does come for about two weeks.  I started thinking about others who might suffer from Winter Blues, especially women over 40 who are going through PMS or Menopause.  I know from my own experience the Winter Blues symptoms double if I am having a “menopausal” moment.

 During the Winter months I try to make sure I have these foods to help me with my mood swings especially during the “Winter Blues” time of year. Here are my favorite foods to chase the blues away!!

Brazil Nuts – are great mood enhancers.  They are high in selenium. Studies have shown that people low in selenium have a tendency to be depressed and anxious.  Just eat 3  nuts with a banana for a great snack and mood enhancer

Sardines, Salmon and other oily Fish – are high in Omega 3. Studies show that people low in Omega 3 are more susceptible to depression and anxiety.Eating a diet high in omega 3 will also keep your brain healthy and improve mood by keeping brain cells flexible, so the brain’s messaging chemicals – neurotransmitters – can work more effectively.

Oats – are an excellent mood enhancer.  They have a low glycemic index (GI), as they slowly release energy into our bloodstream rather than by a quick rush that soon dips. This helps to keep your blood sugar and mood stable. The mineral selenium in oats can also help mood by regulating the function of thethyroid gland. Try hot oatmeal in the mornings or in the afternoon with blueberries.

Bananas – have the amino acid tryptophan, amino acids and vitamin which helps to raise serotonin levels.  Serotonin is the one of our “happy hormones”  Studies have shows that people who suffer depression generally have low serotonin levels. elevate moods .  Try eating bananas in the mid-morning to help prevent low mood swings.

Lentils – are great when it comes to helping you feel better. They are a complex carbohydrate, so like bananas, they have the added benefit of helping to increase the brains production of the feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin. This results in a calmer, happier state of mind with less anxiety.

Spinach – eating raw spinach is great when your in a down mood.  Certain deficiencies in B vitamins have been linked to depression – serotonin production can actually be hindered by low B vitamin levels. Important B vitamins to look out for include folate, vitamins B3, B6 and B12. Eating leafy green vegetables – such as spinach or broccoli, for example – will help keep your levels up.

Water – staying hydrated with water is very important when fighting the blues.the smallest degree of water loss can impair our physical and mental well being. It’s not only our body that is affected by hydration but also our brain. So when dehydrated, it can affect our ability to concentrate.

Yogurt – a great source of Vitamin D. When Vitamin D is low in our bodies we are much more susceptible to depression and anxiety.  Try unsweetened low-fat yogurt with blueberries for breakfast.

Dark Chocolate – a small bit of dark chocolate can raise your endorphins and your mood! The darker the chocolate the better BUT watch the portions.  Dark Chocolate is high in calories.

Turkey and Chicken Breast- are high in the hormone tryptophan, The body uses tryptophan to make serotonin – one of the most important neurotransmitters affecting mood, as well as to make the hormone melatonin, which helps regulate sleep.  They also contain another amino acid tyrosine, which can help reduce symptoms of depression as well as help avoid feeling the blues in the first place.