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Anyone else getting sluggish and less motivated? I’m blaming the weather. New Caitlin Reid Blog on how to eat and exercise to boost your mood

Have you been feeling down lately? Well, according to dietitian and fitness expert Caitlin Reid, changing your mood could be as easy as adding a couple of ingredients to your meals and including a daily bout of exercise. 

Just because the temperature outside is dropping, it doesn’t mean your mood has to follow. Lucky for us there’s a connection between body and mind, so what you eat and how often you exercise has an impact on how you feel. To stay on top of the world this winter, follow our six-step plan:

1. Eat wholegrains: Wholegrain foods such as wholegrain bread and oats are minimally processed and help to control blood sugar levels, providing you with longer lasting energy. On top of this, carbohydrate-containing foods boost serotonin levels in the body, leaving you feeling calm and stress free. Refined carbohydrates such as white bread and rice on the other hand, create rapid spikes in blood sugar levels, leaving you feeling tired and grumpy.

2. Enjoy salmon: Topping the list of excellent mood foods is of course salmon, which is packed with omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fats are a major component of brain cells and are crucial for keeping brain signals moving smoothly. They also convert into prostaglandins, hormone-like substances that promote serotonin production and therefore mood. Enjoy salmon or other types of oily fish such as Tuna and herring, 2-3 times per week.

3. Benefit from B vitamins: Two B vitamins – folate and vitamin B12 – seem to be important for mood, with research linking low levels of these vitamins to depression. Inadequate intakes of folate and vitamin B12 appear to impair the production of the feel-good substance serotonin. Foods rich in vitamin B12 include fish, lean red meat, chicken, eggs, reduced-fat dairy products and eggs, while folate-fortified breakfast cereals, dark green leafy vegetables, chickpeas and asparagus are good sources of folate.

4. Limit the alcohol: In small amounts, alcohol can produce a temporary feeling of euphoria, but as alcohol is a depressant these feelings often don’t last for long. Depending on the amount of alcohol consumed, people can quickly turn to an emotionally unstable state, while alcohol abuse can lead to depressive disorders. Stick to the alcohol guidelines of no more than two standard drinks a day for both men and women.

5. Factor in feel-good fitness: Your daily exercise session stimulates the release of feel-good endorphins, which leaves you feeling happier and more relaxed. In fact, research suggests that regular exercise in line with the National Physical Activity Guidelines (at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most preferably all days of the week) may be as effective as medications in treating mild to moderate depression.

6. Enjoy some sunlight: Step outside and soak up some UV rays, as these natural rays generate vitamin D in your skin. Growing research is finding vitamin D may help relieve mood disorders, leaving your feeling happier and less anxious. Why? Vitamin D is thought to play a role in increasing serotonin levels. Food sources of vitamin D include oily fish, liver, eggs and vitamin D fortified margarine and milk.

Caitlin Reid is the head Corporate Health and Wellness Consultant from “Health & The City” –


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