Some people get depressed over the holidays. But me... The holidays don't really get me down. It's really the after-holiday period that I find the most depressing. Nothing to look forward to but cold days and long, dark nights. No more holiday parties, gift exchanges or traveling. Just the bleakness of winter.
Luckily, there are tons of ways to combat the winter blues, the best (and tastiest) way being with a proper diet. That's right, you can eat your way to a better mood by choosing foods that contain mood-enhancing vitamins and minerals. Here is a list of some of the best.
1. Chocolate - Are you really surprised that this made the list? Chocolate causes the brain to release endorphins which boosts your mood. This rich treat also contains phenylethylamine which is a mild stimulant. The best way to take advantage of chocolate's benefits is by eating dark chocolate, at least 70% cocoa.
Try Mast Brothers Chocolate Brooklyn Blend available at Whole Foods.
2. Beans - Whether you are a fan of lentils, chickpeas or kidney beans, these little legumes pack a huge dose of iron, a mineral linked to relieving fatigue.
Try feijoada at Esperanto. This Brazilian stew made with black beans and pork will warm you up on a cold night.
3. Spinach - This dark and leafy vegetable is rich in B vitamin folate, which helps the brain produce serotonin, a neurotransmitter affecting mood. Low levels of serotonin are linked to feelings of depression so make sure you eat your greens.
A spinach salad with a refreshing citrus flavor is just what you need. Try this recipe.
4. Turkey - Well, I guess we know why we're in such a good mood during the holidays. Turkey contains tryptophan which helps in the production of serotonin and melatonin, both mood-regulating neurotransmitters.
No need to roast a turkey, just try this delicious recipe for turkey chili.
5. Salmon - All that talk about omega-3 acids is annoying, but studies have shown that it does improve overall mood.
Order the spicy salmon rolls at newly opened Yuba Restaurant in the East Village.