Do you ever think that there is something wrong with you because you get so gloomy during the winter? It is actually often related to a deficiency in Vitamins. The winter blues are mainly caused by unstable melatonin levels, a hormone-produced during sleep, and serotonin, and a neurotransmitter responsible for mood, hunger, and sleep.
The B-complex vitamins are essential to mental and emotional well being. They cannot be stored in our bodies, so we depend entirely on out diet to supplement them. B vitamins are destroyed by alcohol, refined sugars, nicotine, and caffeine so it is no surprise that many people may be deficient in these, especially during holidays when we eat more sweets and drink more alcohol. B-Complex vitamins are coenzymes involved in energy production, and may be useful in alleviating depression or anxiety.
So now that you know what the issue might be, how can we improve our diets to help? Here are some of the B Vitamins and foods they are found in:
- Thiamine (Vitamin B1): is found in tuna, sunflower seeds, black beans, and yellow corn
- Niacin (Vitamin B3): is found in chicken, tuna, salmon and mushrooms
- Pyridonxine (Vitamin B6): is found in bell peppers, spinach, bananas and tuna
- Vitamin B12: is found in scallops, clams, oysters, crab and yogurt
- Folic Acid: is found in dark green leafy vegetables
- In addition to B Vitamins, chocolate contains a chemical phenylethylamine that has an uplifting effect. Remember the darker the chocolate the better because it will have less sugar and fat.
Author: Sharon Richter
Sharon Richter is a Registered Dietitian who has established a private nutrition practice in Manhattan over the past ten years. Her objective is to help others achieve a healthier lifestyle by creating incremental goals that are both physically and mentally challenging and most importantly; achievable.