Eating well: A sure cure for those wintertime blues

19 Jan Eating well: A sure cure for those wintertime blues

by Sydne George
Food writer
For the Great Falls Tribune

Maybe we all should have a food as medicine chart hanging inside our kitchen cupboards, similar to those stain removal guides claiming hairspray will get ink out and an ice cube will help remove chewing gum.

On the chart could be healthy eating suggestions that cure all sorts of ailments, including the winter blues.

Reduced exposure to sunlight can cause a drop in serotonin, a brain chemical that regulates mood. Seasonal affective disor­der may follow.

The good news is that there are foods that boost levels of this feel-good brain chemical in your body.

In a nutshell, studies have shown that anti-oxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins and the amino acid tryptophan all play a role in the production of serotonin.

Here are some simple snacks and meals that provide the nec­essary nutrients used to raise the serotonin levels in your body.

For breakfast, try poached eggs, rich in vitamin B12, on whole grain toast with flaxseeds, a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. Wheat Montana makes a Healthy Loaf with Flax and Sunflower Seeds that’s good and good for you.

A snack as simple as a frozen banana dipped in dark choco­late may lift your spirits. In addi­tion to the antioxidant-rich dark chocolate, bananas are a good source of the amino acid trypto­phan.



Peel banana and slice in half.

Insert wooden skewer in cut side of each banana half.

Freeze until ready to dip.

Dip frozen bananas in four ounces melted dark chocolate.

Makes two servings.

A tropical fruit parfait for dessert might just take you away to a happy place. It can be made easily by layering fresh pineapple, kiwi fruit and low-fat yogurt, all shown to increase the body’s production of the neuro­transmitter serotonin.



 ½ cup fresh pineapple, cut in small chunks

 ½ cup diced fresh kiwi

 1 cup low-fat yogurt

Start by layering 1 to 2 table­spoons yogurt in the bottom of each parfait glass.

Top with pineapple to cover, then yogurt, followed by kiwi and repeat until glass is filled, ending with fruit on top. Makes two parfaits.

Sydne George is a food jour­nalist specializing in recipe devel­opment, food writing and food photography. She can be reached at .


  • Tim Ljunggren
    Posted at 12:56h, 01 February Reply

    Syd, this is such a great site! It makes me want to get into the kitchen and throw away all of my pre-packaged frozen food entrees from Albertson’s! 🙂

    • Sydne George
      Posted at 13:13h, 01 February Reply

      Thanks, Tim.
      Wouldn’t hurt, right?

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