29 Jun 2022

Healthy Living: Shake the winter blues

Healthy Living:   Shake the winter blues

The HSE estimates about 7 per cent of the population experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD) Picture: Pexels

We're just out of January and you might feel that you can't shake the sluggishness of the post-holiday season. I just heard on the radio that the first Monday of February is the most common day for calling in sick.
The short-ish days with wild, wet weather are not particularly helpful either. It's time to shake the winter blues and burst your cells into energy!
I wrote about it many times and cannot emphasise it enough that the right nutrients and a good digestion is the base stone of vitality and disease prevention. So, if you have any digestive discomfort, do something about it because if you don't digest your food well, no matter how good your diet is, you won't get the benefit of it.
Chewing your food and eating in a calm environment sound too simple and unimportant, but for most it is an unachievable task. Hurried breakfasts (if at all), rushed lunches, quick sugary snacks and a huge, heavy dinner eaten while thinking of the next day's to-do list ... How could your body digest anything if you eat like this? Try to slow down, feel gratitude, bless the meal, and focus on the sight, smell and taste of it. Try smaller portions (breakfast bowl sized meals) to prevent sluggishness.
Now that you are absorbing better, let's look at what you could eat to get you really energised. Choose easily digestible, but protein packed, warming foods such as light porridge with some spices, stewed apple, or berry compote (you can make it the night before) and a good dollop of peanut / almond butter or some ground seeds to keep you going for longer and prevent energy dips. Gently spiced lentil or meat soups and bean-vegetable stews or curries are great options for most days. Protein is very important to keep the blood sugar levels balanced and that is the secret to long lasting energy.
Don’t be tempted to cut our carbs and fats! Complex carbohydrates (wholegrain / wholemeal) are very important for energy, not just because they supply fuel, but they’re jam packed with energy nutrients, like B vitamins, Chromium and Magnesium. Good fats (Omega oils from fish, nuts, seeds, avocado, olive oil) are important for your brain, your happy hormone production – for your mood. A bit of liquid sunshine - Vitamin D3 drops can also help to elevate the mood in winter months.
Herbal adaptogens are of great help, including Schisandra, Rhodiola or Siberian ginseng. These wonderful botanicals help your body to adapt to any type of stress, increase your energy, mental focus and immunity - a must-have for a busy life. (Please check for contraindications if you take any medications!)
Last, but not least, exercise is the best kick-start for energy. It boosts circulation and gets the thyroid gland going.
Force yourself to do anything that speeds your heart rate, and make you sweat a little.
Give it a few days and you should feel a whole new person!

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