To Your Health

Fend Off SAD this Winter

The people of Iceland experience low levels of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). To help ward off the blues, try including some of their favorite foods in your diet.

Fend Off SAD this Winter
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BREAKFAST Icelanders eat a hearty breakfast of whole grain cereals, like muesli topped with yogurt and berries, or dark rye bread topped with smoked salmon, or pickled herring and a boiled egg. Look for low glycemic index grains such as steel cut oats (not instant), millet, spelt, buckwheat, and quinoa.  Soak them overnight, then quick cook in the morning. Like potatoes, it’s not only the type of grain that matters, but how it is prepared.

BERRIES In Iceland, bilberries (like tiny blueberries) grow everywhere and people pick them off the bushes. They freeze them to eat in the winter too. What berries grow in your region of the country? Buy them in season and freeze them to use in pies or smoothies when it’s no longer summer. They are a good source of antioxidants.

CHOCOLATE Icelanders like their sweets and you can too, in moderation. Eating a square or two of a dark chocolate each day is a good source of theobromine, which is known to cause a sense of happiness and arousal, similar to amphetamine and marijuana highs.

GRASS-FED MEATS like lamb and beef, especially. If you are a meat eater, include small amounts of organ meats (called offal) like kidneys, liver, intestines, brain, etc. They contain the highest amounts of omega-3s as well as iron, vitamins A and D, and zinc. Like cod liver, these are foods your grandparents probably ate.

WILD GAME Animals that are free range have low concentrations of less healthy saturated animal fats and high ones of omega-3s. It’s hunting season in many U.S. states, so if you are a meat eater, see if you can buy some from a specialty butcher or a hunter.

To Your Health!