The winter blues is not a new topic for those of us in the Northland.  With such a long string of subzero days this year, many of us are staying inside and longing for sunshine.  But sunshine isn’t the only thing that can raise your mood and help you get through the winter with a smile.

Incorporate foods rich in vitamin D into your diet.  While supplements are recommended for some people, studies have shown that your body will absorb nutrients better from food.  Fish, especially salmon, is a great and delicious source of vitamin D and can be found frozen or canned.  Mushrooms, cheese, eggs, and ham are all known for having ample amounts as well.  And of course vitamin D fortified dairy, soy, and cereals are available too.

During a cold spell your body may be craving carbs due to decreased serotonin, but stay away from sweets and simple carbs like muffins and white bread.  Instead, opt for 100% whole grains and starchy vegetables like potatoes, beans, and lentils, which all contain complex carbs.  Try steel-cut oats for breakfast and quinoa for dinner!

Exercise is one of the best mood boosters available.  Stimulating neurotransmitters and reducing stress, 30 minutes of movement every day will not only make you happier, but healthier too.  Try indoor aerobic exercise when it’s cold; a Zumba class, jumping rope, or walking the mall are great ways stay warm and break a sweat.

For additional tips or to learn more about how to get involved with the Duluth Y, contact (218) 722-4745 or visit www.duluthymca.org.

Photo: Flickr

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