Food choices linked to better mood


Winter is officially here, and with wild recent rains and wild temperature swings, you might want to curl up on the coach under a blanket.

That lethargic feeling might be linked to your diet, but a few simple tweaks to your diet could have you feeling happy and energized all winter long, according to a local nutritionist.

Karol Spence, a nutritional health coach at Natural Grocers in Tyler, offered a few tips to eat better and pull yourself out of the winter doldrums.

First, the body needs fats, so look for foods rich in omega-3.

"Grass-fed beef, the wild-caught salmon. Fats from avocados. These fatty acids are important for our body because our body is made of fats. Our brain is 60 percent fat," Spence said.

Omega-3 is critical for clarity and mood health, Spence said. One of her go-to snacks is raw, unsalted walnuts because they can be added easily to almost any meal or snack.

"Walnuts are a great option as far as snacks go. They have omega 3's. They have protein. You can put them on salads, yogurt," she said.

Let's not forget about carbs. They're not the enemy - contrary to what you may have been told.

Just like fats and protein, Spence said carbs are a great source of energy. Focus on carbs rich in micronutrients instead of simple carbs like crackers and candy.

"So instead of white potatoes, maybe a sweet potato. A Japanese sweet potato. Lots more nutrients, plus it helps balance blood sugar in many people," Spence said.

When it comes to bread, Spence said to give it the "squeeze test."

When you grab a loaf of bread, it should not ball up in your hand. Instead, it should be firm and not malleable. That indicates a lower gluten content, making it easier on the digestive system with more vitamins and minerals.

“Look for sprouted grains, like Ezekiel bread for example,” Spence said.

To appease your sweet tooth, reach for nature's candy. Spence said apples and oranges are always her go-to, plus they boost your immune system to keep you feeling happy and healthy all winter long.

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