As the seasons change and we get closer to winter, it can be hard to stay motivated and energized. In addition, an estimated 10 million Americans are affected by seasonal affective disorder (SAD) every year, with women being four times more likely to be diagnosed with it than men.
With colder temperatures and the days getting shorter, sugary snacks become more comforting and it can be hard to find time to move your body in a healthy way. A nutritious diet and keeping scheduled physical activity can help you fight fatigue this winter. Here are 5 tips to help nourish your body.
1. Focus on Complex Carbs
One of the reasons why someone might feel run-down during the winter months is because our body is producing less serotonin (one of our happy hormones). Carbohydrates are an imperative component of our diet. They are our body's preferred source of fuel for our muscles and brain, and they can raise serotonin in our body naturally.
Focus on eating complex carbohydrates this winter to keep your energy up. Complex carbohydrates are sources of carbohydrate that also have fiber, and they provide long-lasting energy. Sources of complex carbohydrates include:
2. Keep Color on Your Plate
Eating a colorful plate ensures you are getting all of your vitamins and minerals to keep your energy up. Use the Plate Method and make at least half of your plate vegetables and fruits at meal times to get your daily nutrition in. Fruits and vegetables that are in-season during the winter include:
If you are having trouble finding fresh fruits and vegetables in your area during winter, using frozen is just as nutritious! Frozen vegetables are harvested at their peak of ripeness, meaning they have their highest concentration of nutrients. They are then frozen to preserve their nutrient content. Eating frozen vegetables are just as beneficial as fresh.
3. Drink More Water
One big culprit of fatigue during the colder months is dehydration. We tend to drink less water when we feel cold. Make sure you are still getting enough hydration every day. Start with a minimum of 64 fl oz every day, and add an extra 8-16 fl oz for every hour of physical activity you do.
4. Practice Moderation
Instead of avoiding your favorite fall or winter treat, enjoy a small portion of it and pair it with a high-fiber food to help you feel full and satisfied with your serving. For example, pair a small slice of pumpkin pie with 1 cup of berries.
5. Move Your Body
Moving your body throughout the year is so important for your cardiovascular and mental health. Physical exercise can produce natural endorphins in your body to fight fatigue and SAD. Find a type of exercise you enjoy, and schedule time for exercise in advance. Better yet, find a friend to exercise with! Research shows that we feel accountble we are more likely to meet our goals.