Beat the winter blues!

31 January 2020
1. Exercise
The simplest means of beating the winter blues is to force yourself to stay active, even when it’s dark and cold. Research has shown that even a 15-minute walk in the middle of the day is enough to increase crucial neurotransmitters, such as dopamine which helps energise the brain. 
2. Get into the right mindset
To embrace winter means to see it as a time to slow down, enjoy being at home, and spend time with friends and family. You can also improve your mood by using this time to plan things to look forward to later in the year for example your summer holidays!
3. Eat complex carbohydrates
Greasy, refined carbohydrates such as pizza and garlic bread give you short-term pleasure, but will make you feel more sluggish over the winter months. More complex carbohydrates, such as broccoli, spinach, courgettes and lentils take longer to digest, meaning they don’t cause the sudden spikes in blood sugar that can harm your mood.
4. Embrace folic acid
Some research on folic acid’s effect on the brain has given insight into how it can boost your mood. There’s some evidence that the body uses it to create serotonin — the “happy” hormone — but there’s no conclusive evidence as to how it works. Including it in your diet is a good idea regardless. You can get high amounts of folic acid in leafy greens, oatmeal, sunflower seeds, oranges, fortified cereals, lentils, black-eyed peas, and soybeans.
5. Eat some dark chocolate too!
Chocolate has always been a tasty and good way to self-medicate through down times.  However, not just any chocolate is good for your body and soul! Participants in one study were given a dark chocolate mixed drink every day for a month. Results showed significantly improved mood, which researchers linked with a high polyphenol content. Polyphenols are a type of antioxidant. When you’re feeling down, pick up a bar with the highest cocoa content you can find.
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