The weather outside is frightful,

and the fire is so delightful.

The days are shorter.

The wind is colder.

I’ve got the winter blues.

Would you believe that brain chemicals could be the cause of the winter blues? If you suffer from random bouts of depression, it could be caused by one or both of these two powerful neurotransmitters; dopamine and serotonin. These chemicals are affected by your lifestyle and understanding them may help you improve your mood, sleep, and overall health.

Dopamine stimulates pleasure and alertness, the chemical needed to function throughout the day. It is responsible for your ability to walk, concentrate, show emotion, and crave addictions. Dopamine gives you the “feel goods” and motivation to tackle the day.

Serotonin stimulates peacefulness and sleep. Inadequate levels of serotonin can cause depression, sleepless nights, bad moods, and suppressed appetites. Serotonin converts to melatonin which promotes good sleeping. Bright lights can also increase levels. With shorter days ahead, open the windows and soak up as much light as you can before dark.

Vitamin B6 is responsible for telling your brain to release serotonin. You can find this in green leafy veggies, whole wheat bread, pasta, potatoes, whole grains (cereal) and brown rice. Tryptophan is an amino acid responsible for serotonin, as well.  It converts to serotonin in the brain and can be found in sweet potatoes, corn, and carrots. Yes, there is tryptophan in turkey, but the protein in the turkey counteracts the true effects of it making you sleepy.

Tyrosine is the amino acid responsible for telling your brain to release dopamine. Foods rich in tyrosine are almonds, avocados, bananas, lima beans, and pumpkin and sesame seeds. Dopamine controls our internal clock and keeps us alert so proteins such as dairy, fish, poultry, meat, eggs, beans, and nuts are essential as well.

 

Sample eating schedule to regulate and maintain a balance of serotonin and dopamine

 

First thing when you wake up Glass of fresh juice
Breakfast Unprocessed complex carbohydratesWhole grains, strawberries, blueberries, prunes, ripe bananaWater, apples juice, or soy milk is best
Lunch Obtain much of your daily protein requirementDairy, fish, poultry, meat, eggs, beans, nuts
Dinner High in complex carbohydratesWhole grains and vegetables
Before bed Small glass of fresh juice

 

The weather outside is frightful,

and the fire is so delightful.

The days are shorter.

But I worked harder.

I no longer have the winter blues.

 

Jill Fiala, Director of Elite Living