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Beat the Winter Blues with Brain Healing Superfoods

How do you “Beat the winter blues with brain-healing superfoods?” That, too, is delicious and appealing to taste buds. It is never a joke when you struggle to wake up. You feel anxious and depressed and miss the days of bright sunlight. 

While trying to convert the winter blues to green in my tiny apartment, I embraced them. I have added scientifically proven meaningful foods with mind-boosting hormones that can also provide vitamins and nutrients. These foods are blueberries, kale, apples, red grapes, whole grains, and chia seeds. These foods are medicines that elevate mood.

What is that mind-boosting Chemical in the foods?

They contain quercetin, a phytochemical that works much like a natural antidepressant. It can increase the amount of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine in the brain. Quercetin is a plant flavonol from the flavonoid group of polyphenols. It is found in many common fruits, vegetables, leaves, seeds, grains, kale, and red onions.

They contain neurotransmitters essential for normal brain function. They affect how we feel and regulate similar bodily functions. They affect how we think and control similar bodily functions. Aren’t they holy grails of tacking winter’s messy mind? 

 

Quercetin-Structure-Beat-the-winter-blues

Quercetin Chemical Structure- A plant polyphenol that lifts your mood

Let us delve in and..

Embrace Nature’s Mood-Enhancing Symphony: Harnessing the Power of Superfoods to Combat Winter Blues

#1 Blueberries: The Natural Brain Healer

“Blueberries, winter’s vibrant gems, infuse joy with every burst. Packed with antioxidants and vitamins, they’re not just a treat but nature’s remedy for the winter blues.”

Berries are an excellent source of antioxidants, which can help protect your cells from damage. They also contain anthocyanins linked to improved mood and cognitive function. Consumption of blueberries assists in decreasing depression in children and young adults. Flavonoids in blueberries have antidotes to protect against neuro damage of brain helpers like serotonin. Here is blueberries’ health and well-being in a nutshell.

  • Mood-Boosting Nutrients: Rich in antioxidants and vitamins, blueberries may support brain health and mood regulation during the winter months.
  • Colorful Respite: The vibrant blue color of blueberries adds visual appeal to winter dishes, bringing a touch of brightness to dreary days.
  • Immune Support: Packed with vitamin C, blueberries contribute to a robust immune system, helping ward off winter illnesses and energize you.
  • Healthy Indulgence: Blueberries offer a sweet and nutritious alternative to winter comfort foods, providing satisfaction without compromising health goals.
  • Versatile Comfort: Whether enjoyed fresh, in warm oatmeal or blended into a comforting smoothie, blueberries offer a versatile and delicious way to uplift winter spirits.

“Blueberries, nature’s tiny treasures, burst with the sweet symphony of health and flavor. These little orbs of goodness are not just a treat for the taste buds; they’re a celebration of antioxidants, a dance of vitamins, and a burst of joy in every bite. Let the vibrant blue hues and succulent sweetness of blueberries remind you that the smallest things can bring the greatest delight to both the palate and the body.”

Image: Fight-Winter-Blues-with-Blueberries

#2 Kale

Kale can be a unique ally in beating the winter blues for several reasons:

  1. Nutrient Density: Kale is a nutritional powerhouse packed with vitamins A, C, and K, as well as minerals like iron and calcium. These nutrients support overall health, which is essential during the winter.
  2. Folate for Mood: Kale contains folate, a B vitamin associated with mood regulation. Adequate folate levels are linked to lower risks of depression, potentially offering a natural mood lift.
  3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Kale provides a plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids, contributing to brain health. Supporting your brain during the winter can positively impact mood and cognitive function.
  4. Kale is a leafy green vegetable with quercetin, contributing to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Fiber: Kale is a good fiber source, aiding digestion and promoting a feeling of fullness.

In the garden of greens, kale reigns supreme. Embrace this leafy royalty; your body will thank you for the nutritional coronation.

The versatility of kale allows for creative and comforting dishes. Whether added to soups, stews, or sautéed with garlic, incorporating kale into meals adds a nutritional and flavorful boost.

Kale is a winter-hardy vegetable readily available during the colder months. Including locally available, even organic, seasonal produce can be environmentally friendly and cost-effective.

Warm Salads and Soups: Enjoying warm kale salads or adding kale to soups provides a comforting and nutritious way to consume this leafy green during the winter, contributing to a sense of well-being.

Creating a routine of including kale in meals establishes a positive ritual. Preparing and enjoying nutrient-rich foods can enhance your overall mood and resilience during the winter.

kale-Fight-Winter-Blues-with-Blueberries

#3 Red Grapes: The cumulative nutritional profile contributes to a healthy mind

Savor the sweet symphony of red grapes, nature’s antioxidant-packed jewels. In every juicy burst, find not just flavor but a vibrant celebration of health and well-being.

  1. Antioxidants: Red grapes contain antioxidants, including resveratrol and flavonoids. These compounds have been associated with various health benefits, including cardiovascular health and anti-inflammatory effects.
  2. Resveratrol: This natural compound found in the skin of red grapes has been studied for its potential benefits, such as anti-aging properties and cardiovascular health. While more research is needed, some studies suggest that resveratrol might positively affect mood and cognitive function.
  3. Vitamins and Minerals: Red grapes provide essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamins C, K, potassium, and manganese. These nutrients contribute to overall health and can support immune function.
  4. Natural Sugars: Red grapes contain natural sugars that boost energy. The combination of natural sugars and fiber in grapes can help stabilize blood sugar levels, preventing energy crashes.
  5. Hydration: Grapes have high water content, contributing to hydration. Proper hydration is crucial for overall health, including cognitive function and mood.
  6. Polyphenols: Polyphenolic compounds in red grapes may have anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects, potentially benefiting brain health.

Enjoy grapes in various ways, whether eaten fresh, added to salads, or incorporated into desserts.

#4 Red Onions

Red-onion-Fight-Winter-Blues

Image above: Consumption of Red Onions Improves memory, attention and Executive Function

Get ready for a flavor explosion! Red onions aren’t just an ingredient; they’re a thrilling journey for your taste buds. Brace yourself for the zesty dance of excitement in every crispy, vibrant bite.

  1. Quercetin: Red onions, especially their outer layers, are a good source of quercetin, a flavonoid with antioxidant properties. Quercetin has been associated with anti-inflammatory effects and may play a role in supporting cardiovascular health.
  2. Vitamin C: Red onions contain vitamin C, an essential nutrient that supports the immune system. During the winter months, when colds and flu are more prevalent, maintaining a healthy immune system is essential.
  3. Fiber: Onions, including red onions, are a good source of dietary fiber. Fiber is essential for digestive health and can contribute to a feeling of fullness, which may benefit weight management.
  4. Prebiotics: Onions contain prebiotic fibers, which serve as food for beneficial gut bacteria. A healthy gut microbiota is linked to various aspects of health, including mood and mental well-being.
  5. Sulfur Compounds: Red onions contain sulfur compounds, contributing to their distinctive flavor and aroma. These compounds may have potential health benefits, including anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.
  6. Low in Calories: Red onions are low in calories but rich in flavor. Including them in your meals can add taste and variety to your diet without significantly increasing calorie intake.

24-week continuous intake of quercetin-rich onion compared to quercetin-free onion as a placebo with 70 healthy Japanese individuals in a Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group comparative clinical trial investigated the effect of a long-term intake of quercetin-rich onion on cognitive decline in healthy elderly individuals.

  • Outcomes- Quercetin-rich onion consumption improved cognitive function in healthy elderly individuals. Improvements were observed in memory, attention, and executive function.

#5 Chia seeds

Summary:

A sampling of nutritious superfoods ranging from fruits, green leaves, and seeds brings a wide array of readily accessible and affordable foods to defeat the winter blues. Along with exercise, hydration, limiting coffee and alcohol, and quitting smoking, nutrition would help you achieve your desired goal.

Winning, by the way, is a habit.

Anusuya Choudhury

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