Winter has arrived, bringing with it shorter days and a briskness in the air. Change is the one thing we can always be guaranteed of in life and this shift in season is a reminder that change is always constant.
This seasonal shift into Winter can also bring change to how we feel and some of us might experience a feeling of the Winter blues. And the Winter blues is a real thing! More commonly known as SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).
“During the winter month many of us might experience a feeling of the Winter blues.”
While the specific cause of SAD is unknown, there are factors that might contribute to SAD including the levels of our happy hormones; serotonin and dopamine levels, as well as our adrenaline levels.
The good news is there are natural ways you can boost these happy hormones through the Winter months. First, let’s look at why they are so important:
Now we know why these hormones are so important, so let’s take a look at how we can naturally boost your mood:
Serotonin depends on the precursor tyrptophan, which is an essential amino acid. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and proteins are the building blocks for your hormones. There is another important amino acid called tyrosine that is needed for dopamine production.
“Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and proteins are the building blocks for your hormones.”
Foods high in tryptophan and tyrosine are meat, fish, eggs, seeds, nuts and also oats, chickpeas, bananas and chocolate - yes chocolate! (Ideally 70% cocoa and sugar-free)
Vitamin D plays a role in serotonin and dopamine production. While the best source of vitamin D is sunshine, there are some food sources of vitamin D such as oily fish, liver eggs, mushrooms, raw dairy (milk, cheese) and lard in your cooking.
“Vitamin D and omega 3 fatty acids plays a role in serotonin and dopamine production.”
Omega 3 fatty acids are also essential for serotonin production. Foods that are rich in omega 3 fatty acids are eggs, nuts, raw milk (if tolerated), leafy green vegetables and oily fish.
The majority of serotonin and about half of your dopamine is made in your gut. This means that the health of your microbiome influences your serotonin and dopamine production. This is why nurturing great gut health is so important.
“The majority of serotonin and about half of your dopamine is made in your gut.”
While sugar and caffeine have been found to boost dopamine, this is only a temporary boost and ultimately contributes to a nutrient deficiency. Sugar and processed carbohydrates are also major culprits at wreaking havoc to your gut health.
“Sugar and processed carbohydrates are also major culprits at wreaking havoc to your gut health.”
Keeping in natural rhythm with daylight hours will help boost your serotonin levels. This means exposing yourself to natural daylight in the morning and during the day. It also means ensuring that you go to bed at a reasonable time.
When your serotonin levels decrease this can impact your sleep quality. When you aren’t sleeping well, it is more likely that you won’t feel great either, in fact some researchers have found that disturbances in circadian rhythms have been linked to depression. This means making sure you have a nourishing bedtime routine is essential for improving your sleep quality.
“When you exercise you release natural endorphins, making you feel great.”
When you achieve a goal, hit a target, or accomplish a task, you receive a pleasurable hit of dopamine in your brain, telling you, you’ve done a good job. But you can also get a natural dose of dopamine when you perform acts of compassion toward others.
It is no doubt that humans love affection. Being hugged gives us those warm fuzzies, automatically triggering the release of more happy hormones.
Find out for SURE what’s going on with your mood, by testing your serotonin, dopamine and adrenaline levels. Now with the new BePure Mood, Sleep and Oxidative Stress Test, we can actually test the levels of these important chemicals within the body.
This gold standard test measure normal levels of your:
To find out more about the BePure Mood, Sleep and Oxidative Stress Test, chat with one of our BePure Holistic Health Consultants to see if it’s right for you and learn about our personalised approach to diet, lifestyle and nutritional support.
The BePure Mood, Sleep and Oxidative Stress Test is available on the BePure Personalised Health Programme or the BePure Comprehensive Personalised Health Programme. On both of these programmes, you are supported by the myHealth platform, where you will have access to your test results.
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