January is known to be a depressing month, and on some level, everyone gets a touch of the January blues. After the excitement of December, which promises so many social occasions, good food, presents and of course, time off work, it can feel like a shock when January hits and the bills start coming in after the over-indulgence. It is also at this time of year that we make New Year resolutions, and so many people do feel a little glum at this time.
To try and protect yourself from this, you might want to make small changes to your diet to help you live a healthier start to the year. This doesn’t have to start on January 1st, but as far back as December in preparation for the year ahead. Very Well Mind says, “Although there is no specific diet that has been proven to alleviate depression, we can see that there are plenty of nutrient-rich foods that can help to keep our brains healthy.”
One of these is fish. This includes especially the more oily types such as salmon, mackerel, trout and sardines because they are rich sources of Omega-3 fats. Omega-3 fats help to build connections between brain cells, which can help lead to increased serotonin production and improvement of mood.
Another food you may want to try eating more of is fruit. We all know that fruit is a vital part of any diet, but many people don’t eat enough. The NHS guideline is to eat 5 pieces of fresh fruit and veg a day, but this can be difficult. By making small changes, you can gradually eat more fruit (don’t try and change everything at once!) and in just a few weeks you can see a difference in your mood. Fruitful Office say say that one of the best fruits for mood improvement is actually bananas. This is because bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin – known to bring about an “enlightening” effect. By popping a banana in your bag in the morning, you can give yourself a mid-morning boost and it will cure those hunger pangs, too. This is so much better for you than a chocolate bar, which only has temporary effects. Remember that there are also long-term effects in eating fruit. Fruit can be great for your immune system, which means fewer colds and coughs in the long-run. These bugs can really wear us down and affect mood so it is really worth buying that little extra fruit in your grocery shop each week!
And remember – avoid alcohol and caffeine if you are feeling low. Although you might think these will help pick you up, alcohol is actually a depressant. This is summed up best by Dr. Ede who says: “Alcohol will not solve any of your health problems, because no health problem is caused by a lack of alcohol.” The same goes for caffeine, which should be consumed in moderation and should not be used as an energy source. A much better alternative is a cup of green tea.