Guest post by Jen Weare of Hol:Life Hub.
What do you think of when people say winter?
Skiing, hot chocolate, twinkling lights and snowflakes… That sounds lovely, right? But in reality, winter in the Northern Hemisphere can be dark and dreary, bitterly cold and outright miserable. And it can really take a toll on your body and mind.
We’ve all heard of the Winter Blues…but what if your winter didn’t have to be quite so blue?
Did you know that what you eat can have a huge impact on your mood? So if you’re starting to feel those long days try incorporating some of these amazing plant-powered foods into your routine to help get that pep back in your step!
These savoury little morsels aren’t just delicious, but also a great way to add more Vitamin D to your diet. I’m sure you’ve heard lots about Vitamin D and it’s probably the most famous vitamin to help tackle Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). We know we can get Vitamin D from the sun, but that can be more than a little tricky during the winter.
So why not add some mushrooms to your diet?
Mushrooms are the only vegetable that contains Vitamin D, naturally. Other plant-sources of Vitamin D are things like fortified orange juice, plant milks or cereals. Regardless of how you get your Vitamin D…it’s super important, not only for your mood but it’s also key to a healthy immune system!
For your Skin – Vitamin D plays a key role in skin protection and rejuvenation. It helps to enhance the skin’s immune system and even destroys free radicals that cause premature ageing.
2. Dark Leafy Greens
Greens aren’t just for those summer salads. Dark leafy greens are amazing emerald powerhouses full of amazing vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. And they’re also helpful for beating those winter blahs.
Things like kale, swiss chard, beet greens, watercress, spinach and collards are full of nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C, antioxidants, fiber, folate, vitamin K, magnesium, calcium, iron and potassium.
Magnesium can positively impact your serotonin levels and boost your mood. And those greens are also full of Folate (the natural form of B9) which supports serotonin regulation. Serotonin is an important neurotransmitter and helps the brain manage a variety of functions including your mood. And not getting enough Folate can leave you feeling tired and blah.
For your Skin – vitamin C helps your body produce collagen, which is a key factor in healthy skin and hair as you get older. Greens have Beta-Carotene, a powerful antioxidant well known for its ability to repair and renew the skin. Vitamin A can help combat acne as it slows down the production of sebum.
3. Nuts & Seeds
They aren’t just for snacking! Nuts and seeds contain essential fatty acids that are great for your overall health, but they’ve also been shown to decrease inflammation and can also help to reduce depression and depression symptoms.
Things like walnuts, flax, chia and hemp are great sources of plant-powered omega-3s.
Omega-3s play a key role in brain health, but unfortunately, our bodies can’t make them. So we need to get them from our diet. Not getting enough Omega-3’s can cause a whole range of symptoms including fatigue, mood swings, memory decline and depression.
For your skin – Omega-3’s help to moisturize the skin and fight red, dry, itching skin as they improve the skin’s barrier functions by sealing in moisture and keeping irritants out. They are also anti-inflammatory, so they can even help with reducing acne.
4. Beans & Lentils
They aren’t just a funny song anymore! Beans and lentils are nutritional champs. Not only are they loaded with fiber and protein, but they’re also packed with feel-good nutrients too!
They’re a great source of B vitamins which help to boost your mood by increasing levels of those super important neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine and GABA. And those B vitamins are key components of proper communication between nerve cells. Low levels of B vitamins, especially B12 and Folate have been linked to mood disorders, including depression. So get adding those beans to your dishes!
Black beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils… there are so many to choose from! Plus, they’re a good source of zinc, selenium, magnesium and iron…all of which can help beat those winter blahs!
For your skin – beans are such amazing powerhouses! They are packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that help to fight free-radicals that cause premature aging. Plus, the fiber and protein are important for skin healing and repair. And all that fiber helps to feed those good-bacteria in your gut. And having a happy, healthy gut is also a key factor in having healthy skin!
Those are just a few of the amazing plants you can add to your diet to help beat those blues. Remember to eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables….the more colours of the rainbow you can get on your plate the better! Your body and mind need all of those super amazing vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients to keep you happy and healthy!
This guest post was written by Jen Weare.
Jen Weare is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Belief Clearing Practitioner. She’s on a mission to inspire and empower others to live their Hol:Life by switching to a more plant-based lifestyle. As a wife and busy mom of 2, she understands how difficult it can be to get great tasting, nutrient-dense meals on the table without having to spend hours slaving away in the kitchen.
She also knows how isolating it can be when you decide you want to make a change to better your health, but no one else in your family is on board. She’s been there…done that, and continues to focus on supporting her clients so that they don’t have to feel alone. She helps her clients reclaim their self-confidence, health and compassion through plant-based living.
Learn more about Jen and her free resources for unleashing your plant-powered rebel on her website.
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