We call them “Winter Blues” – feeling kind of low and down and out. “Depression”, grey skies and the winter illnesses all collectively result in feeling a little dispirited. Instead of feeling woeful this time of year, why don’t we circumvent this melancholy time period and strengthen our resolve – mentally and physically. We can.
First, make sure the body has what it needs to make healthy serotonins – your healthy, happy, stress-enduring brain hormones. What do we need? We need Vitamin D, essential fatty acids, good whole foods and nutrient-dense broths, soups and other foods to nourish our brain and our bodies. Some of these foods are multi-colored. In fact, eating a rainbow of colors on each plate of food not only nourishes your body, but nourishes the mind. This eye-candy is essential to offsetting the “blue” in our lives.
Each color offers different benefits. Green foods, such as spinach, kale, Swiss chard, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage and other cruciferous veggies and green leafy veggies provide minerals much needed by the brain, help balance pH in the body, boosts immune system health/fights infections. Green veggies and fruit contain beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, folate, vitamin C, calcium and other nutrients.
Orange, red and yellow foods such as carrots, beets, tomatoes, peppers of all colors, and squashes contain many vitamins as well as minerals that the brain requires to make hormones. These colored veggies provide beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, flavonoids, vitamin C and lycopene (needed for eyes, skin, brain); anthocyanins and quercetin, hesperidin, ellagic acid – particularly in the red foods (that help the circulatory system, brain aging and prevents oxidative damage). Blue and purple foods contain anthocyanins, lutein, zeaxanthin, resveratrol, vitamin C, quercetin and phenolics (slows aging and oxidative DNA damage).
Even some white fruits and veggies are helpful. A strong spot of white amongst purple broccoli, red beets, yellow-spined swiss chard and a nice steak provides a beautiful contrast. White, such as cauliflower, garlic, ginger, Jerusalem artichokes, jicama, kohlrabi, mushrooms, onions, turnips, parsnips, white nectarines or white peaches contain powerful immune-boosting nutrients such as beta-glucans, lignans and other nutrients which also balance immune responses.
By contrast, yellows, reds, greens and blues in the form of gelatin desserts, sodas and other artificially colored foods is the antithesis to health. These sugary consumables actually inhibit healthy immune response. If you want to stay healthy during the winter, avoid these like the plague!
The best color you could have is pink – not in foods, but in your complexion. Pink represents the quintessential in a healthy body. Using acupuncture and whole food nutritional therapy to reduce any disease that inhibits your health, reduce stress and lift mood is one of the most effective ways to reduce the winter “blues”.
©2021 Holly A. Carling, O.M.D., L.Ac., Ph.D.