Eat healthy to ease the winter blues

SOUND ADVICE: Dietitian Clare Harrington from the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust
SOUND ADVICE: Dietitian Clare Harrington from the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust

SOUND advice - for Hartlepool and East Durham people to eat healthily during the winter months - has been issued by health chiefs.

A spokesman for the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust said: “We often hear people say that they feel like hibernating and filling up on stodgy winter food during the dark, cold winter days.

“With the third Monday in January renowned for being most depressing day of year, when the first days of January, full of good intentions and optimism have passed, we are faced with dark days and cold weather.”

Dietitian Clare Harrington at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust has issued some tips for people to eat well in the darkest months of the year.

She said: “What we eat can help to ease the symptoms of the winter blues. Just like a car needs fuel to run efficiently, you need to feed your brain regularly with the right nutrients for it to work properly.

“Healthy eating shouldn’t be a chore. It is easy to find ways to eat healthy, balanced, regular meals. You can enjoy food by finding new ways of preparing meals and eating healthy alternatives.

“Good nutrition is important for our physical and mental health. At a time when you may feel your energy levels are at their lowest, it is really important to eat regularly. Skipping meals results in low blood sugar levels, which will leave you feeling tired, irritable, unable to concentrate and very hungry.”

To feel good, there are plenty of foods to eat so you are less likely to overeat and lack energy.

Trust experts say you can help yourself by:

• starting the day with a good breakfast such as a wholegrain cereal, porridge, fruit and yoghurt or multigrain toast with a poached egg.

• choosing foods which are rich in protein keep you feeling full, such as lean meat, oily fish, eggs, nuts, seeds and pulses.

• minimising the amount of processed foods you eat as they tend to be higher in salt and sugar.

• eating five portions of fruit and vegetables each day, such as a glass of unsweetened fruit juice at breakfast or some vegetable soup for lunch or simply as snacks.

• drinking six to eight glasses of fluid each day. This should be non-caffeinated drinks such as water, herbal teas, squash, milk; as even slight dehydration can affect your mood.

• limiting your alcohol intake, as drinking alcohol can disturb sleep, cause dehydration and leave you feeling both anxious and depressed.