Attention foodies looking brighten the winter blues: By ensuring the right combination of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, trace elements, essential fatty acids, carbs and lipids medical studies suggest that you can significantly reduce the chance that you or your customers will fall victim to seasonal depression.
Here are some suggestions to beat the winter blues:
Offer more fruit—dried or fresh—at each meal for its reputed ability to give the brain energy and help stabilize emotional well-being.
Incorporate walnuts, brazil nuts and seaweed onto the menu. They contain a significant amount of DHA and essential fatty acids which help the production of brain neurotransmitters. They also contain selenium—a mineral found to help reduce cold symptoms.
Play up the fish dish. Fish oil is said to be anti-depressive and psycho-regulating. Educate customers on the health benefits of this essential fatty acid.
Cut back on coffee—too much caffeine can lead to depression. Substitute green or black tea, which are both loaded with antioxidants that stimulate nerve cells.
Instead of fast food (saturated fats numb neurons), opt for more leafy green vegetables, poultry and whole grain cereals, which are rich in vitamin B6 and increase the levels of serotonin in your brain.
When it comes to potatoes and pasta, eat up! Carbohydrates increase the brain's concentration of tryptophan (an amino acid that is transformed into serotonin. BEWARE: too many carbs can produce the opposite effect...)
Offer "brain foods" like leavened bread, beans, spaghetti, lentils, soya beans, plain yogurt, carrots and dried apricots, all of which can help maintain mental stability.
Fall in love with garlic. When crushed or sliced, fresh garlic releases allicin, which is thought to have both antiviral and antibacterial properties. It's also energizing, anti-stress, anxiolytic and anti-depressive, thanks to its high selenium content, a trace element that facilitates the activity of neurotransmitters.
And most importantly: Thou shalt NOT skip a meal. When blood sugar level drops, it short-circuits the brain's neurons. Provide customers with healthful grab-and-go options like fruit, nuts or yogurt for breakfast, and sandwiches, salads or wraps for lunch and dinner.