Over half of British workers admit their colleagues are more difficult to work with during winter, and over two thirds confess their own morale is lower, so with the cold snap coming in, many of us will be looking for a quick pick-me-up to beat the blues.
The trouble is, while reaching for a sugary quick-fix is tempting – and might provide a short-term boost – what we eat and drink can dramatically impact our moods and energy levels too.
Whilst two-thirds believe they’re less productive and suffer lower energy in the winter, the majority confessed to reaching for unhealthy, sugary snacks. A whopping 82% of workers had no access to fruit in the office, instead were surrounded by sugary chocolate, biscuits and crisps.
Leading food psychologist Dr Christy Fergusson, from Channel 4s Secret Easters says: “Relying on high sugar foods, biscuits and crisps to keep us going can leave us riding the blood sugar rollercoaster. We feel buzzed for a spell but soon our energy, concentration and mood can plummet.
“During winter, the lack of sunshine can leave most people suffering the effects of dwindling serotonin levels. Serotonin is our feel good happy brain chemical which keeps our moods high and our cravings at bay. As the dark nights roll in and our serotonin levels plummet, we can find our energy drops, our moods turn and the sugar cravings kick in. If you find yourself losing focus and the brain fog descending as the afternoon wears on, I’ve created a list of top five foods to turn around your mood.”
To help you overcome the blues, Dr Christy’s created a list of her top four mood foods:
During the dark winter months, we don’t get as much exposure to sunlight; this can lead to a dip in your feel-good brain chemical serotonin. One of the best foods for supporting your serotonin production is Turkey. This is high in the amino acid tryptophan the building block to creating serotonin.
Oily fish such as salmon are high in essential omega-3 fatty acids. The modern day diet is often deficient in omega 3 leaving people susceptible to low moods. A large percentage of our brain tissue consists of these fatty acids. We, therefore, need to ensure we provide our body with a good supply so our brain messengers can work well.
A lack of B vitamins can impact the production of your feel-good brain chemical serotonin. Leafy green vegetables are packed with vital B vitamins such as folate, vitamins B3, B6 and B12. Eating your greens is, therefore, a tasty way to help keep depression at bay.
These nutrient-rich gems are packed with antioxidants essential for supporting the proper functioning of the brain. Berries are loaded with anthocyanidins. These are known to help boost your brain function and support the nervous system. As well as being nutrient dense, one of the best things about berries is that despite being sweet they are low in sugar. This means you can snack away without spiking your blood sugar levels. You could say they are nature’s brain food. They pack a serious nutritional punch for every calorie consumed. This makes them the ideal way to supercharge your system with nutrients, without escalating your blood sugar levels.