Adding the following to your meals and snacks can really assist in getting you through dark wintery days:
1) Brazil nuts Brazil nuts are one of the best sources of selenium which helps fight against depression, irritability and tiredness. Just 3 Brazil nuts can provide you with 100% of your selenium RI.
Nuts make a perfect snack either with dried fruit or by themselves.
2) Honey Packed with beneficial compounds such as quercetin and kaempferol that help clean up free radicals and reduce inflammation, which is very important in maintaining a healthy brain and fighting against seasonal mood dips.
Add to your porridge or rice pudding as a healthier alternative to sugar.
3) Leeks Full of manganese, vitamin C as well as iron and a good source of fibre these low calorie vegetables have been shown to help stabilize blood sugar as well as help stave off winter colds and flu.
Try a filling leek and bacon pasta dish or leek and mushroom for a vegetarian option.
4) Butternut squash Butternut squash contains carotenoids, which provide antioxidants to support your health through the long winter months and they also have good levels of vitamin A, vitamin C, fibre and B vitamins along with omega-3 fatty acids.
Squash can make a delicious soup when combined with jalapenos and ginger.
5) Flaxseed oil Omega 3’s like flaxseed oil are anti- inflammatories, which have a positive impact on brain health.
Add a teaspoon to a breakfast of bran cereal, banana and skimmed milk.
6) Cinnamon Cinnamon opens up your blood vessels, getting oxygen to your muscles and your brain, which leads you to feel more energised.
Cinnamon is incredibly versatile and can add flavour to anything from stewed fruit to spaghetti bolognese.
7) Soup Is perhaps the ultimate comfort food during tough days. A hearty bowl of soup will fill you up and can be full of vitamins to improve your mood, brainpower and immunity.
Can be bought pretty much anywhere but try making your own tomato and lentil or fish soup at home.
8) Red Bush tea On a day-to-day basis, drinking Red Bush tea will help to regulate your blood glucose levels, keep you alert and hydrated and help to manage sugar cravings. It is over 50 times more active in antioxidant properties than green tea and is caffeine free. Swap one of your daily coffees for Red Bush tea, and then once you get used to it, try replacing coffee number two!
9) Jam Jam contains B vitamins and potassium and will raise your levels of serotonin, your brains natural, self-generated antidepressant.
Add jam to your morning yoghurt or spread thinly on a wholemeal English muffin.
10) Dark chocolate The darker the chocolate you eat, the better. A small square of dark chocolate can cause the brain to release endorphins and boost serotonin levels. Just don’t go crazy!
Make some delicious homemade high fibre chocolate brownies for healthy treat.