This is my favorite time of year. I feel a sense of relief, the busy days of summer are over. It is time to come indoors, reflect on the past year and create a warm, comforting environment.
Not everyone shares my love of fall and winter- shorter/ darker days, less activity, less sun and the holidays right around the corner, many people experience low mood, weight gain/loss and disrupted sleep.
Guess what- nature has provided some great solutions.
I find it fascinating that the root vegetables are in season this time of year. Root vegetables like parsnips, beets, and sweet potatoes contain nutrient rich starches which help the body to produce its calming, anti-depressant neurotransmitter, serotonin.
Additionally, many of the root vegetables, like burdock root, are incredibly strong. Nothing will grow within 7 feet of this root. What an excellent food to eat as we come inside for winter- -Strong, grounding foods. **other cultures look at food, not just by its nutrient content, but also for it energetic properties**
Another fall/winter food which helps relieve anxiety, depression and insomnia are pumpkin seeds!
Pumpkin seeds are a powerhouse of protein, healthy fats and nutrients, like zinc. Not only will they help alleviate depression, they can help with high blood pressure and arthritis. Pumpkin seeds are high in tryptophan, the amino acid precursor to serotonin. Combined with high levels of zinc (zinc is a key component of neuronal brain health).
Hey–just for kicks, check out this journal article on Zinc and Alzheimer’s disease and then get back to me if you sre still not convinced about the importance of nutrition
Pumpkin seeds are pretty tasty way to boost serotonin, but if you need more convincing:
This time of year I start to crave warming foods and spices– chai or yogi tea anyone? What a perfect food for this time of year– these spices keep the blood moving and provide necessary antioxidants to prevent colds and flu.
Here are two of my favorite warming winter drinks.
From my Whole Foods Cooking Teacher, Cynthia