The effects of shorter days and cooler temperatures is on the minds of everyone in the exercise industry. Workout frequency and quality suffer due to lower energy levels, hormone imbalances caused by the time/sun shift, and overall malaise caused by S.A.D.
In addition to a variety of exercise and recreational adjustments you can make to fight off the negative effects of this time of the year, food can help. That is, the right foods.
Foods rich in Omega 3 fatty acids work wonders on the psyche! Here's a little back ground, courtesy of WebMD, Dr. Andrew Weil, and ...
Omega V. Omega
Two fatty acids (Omega 3 & 6) are needed by the human body but NOT produced naturally by the human body. That means that they must be eaten. According to Dr. Weil's website, Omega 6's, which come from nuts, soy, and many refined vegetive oils, are readily consumed to such a degree that they inhibit the use of Omega 3's, which are consumed a lot less. In fact, it is estimated that 20% of the modern American diet is Omega 6 fats.
Because the Omega 6's and the Omega 3's compete for an enzyme to convert to their needed operational structure, a shortage of Omega 3's leads to a number of deleterious effects, notably hormone instability. Hormone instability leads to energy depletion, short tempers, and many other S.A.D. characteristics.
So, how do you get more Omega 3's in your diet? And more importantly, more Omega 3's relative to Omega 6's. First of all, you really need to limit your intake of pre-packaged snack foods, fast foods, and baked goods. They are loaded with the fatty acids that are already so prevalent in your body.
Walnuts, Flaxseeds, and Fish
Finally, you need more Omega 3's! The go-to options are the oily fishes: salmon, mackerel, and sardines. However, the two foods that carry the highest Omega 3 value: flaxseeds and walnuts. Other items that are great to include are shrimp, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, tofu, eggs, chia seeds, and beef.
Increase these foods, decrease the culprits, and ward off S.A.D. Next week - the value of sunshine!