It's 'Blue Monday' - today is supposedly the most depressing day of the year.

It's 'Blue Monday' - today is supposedly the most depressing day of the year.  Many of us feel low at this time of year when the excitement of Christmas is over and the days are cold, and dark.  We often refer to feeling low at this time of year as 'January blues'.  The following advice will help you 'beat the blues':-
  • Exercise – exercise releases ‘feel good’ endorphins from the brain.  If you can take your exercise outdoors that is even better as you will be able to top up your vitamin D levels. Low vitamin D levels are associated with depression.
  • Keep blood sugar levels stable to avoid low mood.  Eat regular meals and never skip a meal. Avoid refined carbohydrates, sugar, white flour, white bread, white pasta, biscuits, cakes, puddings etc which raise blood glucose quickly as this is followed by a fall in blood sugar below normal.  Instead eat slow release carbohydrates such as oats, quinoa, wholewheat pasta, wholegrain bread which help keep blood sugar stable. Also include beans and lentils, plenty of fruit and vegetables.  Avoid caffeine in tea, coffee and chocolate which can cause blood sugar high and lows. You might want to consider supplementing with chromium to help stabilise blood sugar. Remember the brain needs a steady supply of glucose to work at its best. 
  • Depression has been associated with low levels of serontin in the brain.  Tryptophan containing foods such as soya milk, soya yogurts, tofu, beans, walnuts, bananas almonds and pumpkin seeds enhance serontin. 
  • Depression has been associated with low levels of selenium.  Deficiency in this mineral used to be rare but as our soil becomes depleted of selenium (and hence our bread) selenium deficiency is more likely.  Just 3 brazil nuts provide the recommended daily amount or consider a supplement
  • Make sure you get your omega 3s. See
  • Plan treats to brighten January, a trip to the theatre or cinema, a meal out (many restaurants have deals in January) or even a healthy food treat such as the 'Banoffee' loaf below.  Bananas are rich in the amino acid tryptophan which is converted by the brain to serontin, the mood lifting hormone.

'Banoffee' loaf


200g dairy free spread
20g stevia
3 medium bananas, peeled and mashed
200g rice flour
3 tsp baking powder
1tbsp lacuma
3 tbsp plain soy yogurt

Cream the spread with the stevia.  

Add bananas and soy yogurt.  

Sieve lacuma, baking powder and flour together and add a little at a time, mixing well.  
Pour the mixture into a loaf tin and bake for about 50 minutes in a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees.  

Janet x

Article and recipe Copyright © 2015 40plusandalliswell

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