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How Does Winter Affect Your Eating?


How Does Winter Affect Your Eating?

Winter can make you eat more.  Thanks to biological changes being triggered by winter months, you may be more inclined to eat more.

Laura Cipullo, RD, author of The Body Clock Diet, says that the cooler temperatures, fewer daylight hours, and more time spent inside can all have a significant effect on when, how much, and what we’re hungry for. Frontiers in Neuroscience looked at data both in people and in animals and found that seasonal changes did affect many hormones related to hunger and appetite, including glucocorticoids, ghrelin, and leptin.

Food focused holidays and more time spent indoors, can also contribute to the variation in eating patterns. It is important to note that just because you may crave high carbohydrate foods in the winter, doesn’t mean you necessarily need them.

Winter May Actually Make You Hungrier

Fewer daylight hours may affect food cravings. Sunlight is one of the factors that triggers the release of the hormone serotonin, a neurotransmitter that has been shown to boost your mood significantly.

Carbohydrate intake also increases serotonin levels (due to the insulin that gets released as a result) and research suggests that people thus may crave carbohydrates as a way to improve mood, especially in people with seasonal depression, who may have lower serotonin levels and lowered mood because of reduced exposure to sunlight.

Winter Foods You Should Be Eating

  • Soup.  This is a great way to get more fibre-filled vegetables into your winter diet.
  • Citrus Fruits. Winter is the time for citrus to shine. You can add citrus to many salads for the extra zest in flavour.
  • Broccoli, Cauliflower, and Brussels Sprouts.  These cruciferous vegetables are great for roasting. Just toss them with a little olive oil with a dash of salt and pepper and pop them in the oven until they start to get brown.
  • Salmon. Fatty fish such as mackerel, sardines,  salmon are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which is another mood booster.

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