Foods to Cure the Winter Blues

Flay serves up a recipe for Steel Cut Oatmeal with Saut CBS/The Early Show

If you're suffering from the winter blues, there may be some foods that can boost your mood.

And CBS News Medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton named several on "The Early Show" Friday.

She says your diet can have a significant impact on your mood - though she stresses she's not referring to "emotional eating" - when someone eats as a result of stress. This is, says Ashton, "about maximizing your diet to help you have more energy and less irritable."

There are some key rules to live by to help control your mind and help you stay in a "good mood" - among them, keeping your blood sugars steady, which means eating less refined sugars and starches that can spike it up.

Oatmeal is a great winter option because it's warming -- it's got whole grains and fiber, which helps stabilize blood sugar. The carbs in oatmeal helps trigger the release of serotonin, which helps relax you. Also it's often fortified with selenium, which may help ease anxiety and depression and make you less tired.

People can get depressed because they don't get any sun during the long winter months. But, Vitamin D can help combat the blues. Good sources include fish, eggs and milk.

There's research linking Vitamin D deficiency and depression -- so make sure you get enough Vitamin D. It can be good for your brain and mood. It can also keep colds and the flu away, which should make you feel better than being stuck on a couch and miserable. One study found that people who took Vitamin D supplements were three times less likely to report cold and flu symptoms. Most children (7 out of 10) are deficient in Vitamin D -- it's recommended that they get 400 IUS daily.

Tea may help relieve stress -- one British study found that those who drank tea found their cortisol levels (stress hormones) dropped almost 50 percent when they drank black tea four times a day. Tea also contains antioxidants, possibly lowering risks of cardiovascular disease and cancer.
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