Has the temperature drop left you feeling inclined to stay under the covers? Do you feel less energised now the days have got shorter? Every once in a while, you’re entitled to a pyjama day with only Netflix for company. But without bursting any bubbles we all know that’s not exactly living your life to its full potential.
So here’s a newsflash for you: winter blues are actually real! They are a genuine health complaint that affects many people worldwide; a variation on seasonal affective disorder (SAD). It may sound silly but SAD is a form of depression and it touches the lives of many people at this time of year.
And now another newsflash: a bolt of magnesium will help to set you right.
If you find yourself feeling down, look to your diet and nutrition. First question: am I getting enough magnesium?
Magnesium might well be the mighty mineral that you are missing in your diet. As well as playing an important role in bone formation, magnesium has many strong health benefits such as boosting energy levels, improving circulation, enhancing sleep and supporting a good immune system.
Many of us Brits are missing out on magnesium. Government research shows that between five to eight million adults in the UK are not getting enough magnesium in their diet, with nearly half (48%) of pre-teen and teenage girls falling short.
Failing to get enough minerals and nutrients, combined with the seasonal change to shorter, colder days, may weaken the immune system, leading to feelings of fatigue and low motivation. Fear not, however. Lucy Jones (Channel 4’s The Food Doctor and presenter of Food Unwrapped) is adamant that a simple change of diet, to include magnesium-rich foods such as almonds, could help beat the seasonal slump:
“The small but mighty almond is the perfect pocket fuel to help you battle those winter blues and keep ahead of the game. One portion (about 28g) contains about 80mg of magnesium; this combats the tiredness and fatigue that can leave you feeling under the weather. And, being a source of niacin, which supports normal psychological function, snacking on almonds may help to keep you feeling like you all winter through.”
Deficiency in magnesium is associated with migraines, nausea, muscular weakness, fatigue, as well as irritability, confusion and depression. This essential nutrient contributes to both physiological and psychological health; and Lucy Jones’ first preference – almonds – are also a valuable source of protein.
However, if almonds don’t tickle your fancy there are many other magnesium-dense foods that can be included in your diet: kale, or any dark leafy greens; fish; soya beans; cashews; bananas; avocado; and buckwheat. Not forgetting plain chocolate…
As if you needed another reason to unwrap the dark stuff this Christmas.
Image by Brett_Hondow from Pixabay, used with permission.