Ask a Dietitian: From Winter Blues to Spring Fever in Eight Steps

At Pollock Communications, we work with many healthful, nutritious food and beverage clients. Healthful foods and activities can be a great way to stave off the winter slump that you might be feeling because of the never-ending cold weather we’ve been dealing with and asked our in-house dietitians to put together a list of ways to help keep you motivated, happy and healthy until spring arrives.

1. Sip green or black tea.

Tea can be a great way to stay hydrated on dry, cold days – and on hot and sunny ones too, once they finally show up. Compounds found in tea may also help you maintain attention and improve alertness.1 You will really be able to keep your eye on the prize: SPRING!

2. Go nuts.

Walnuts, hazelnuts, pistachios, pecans, macadamias, peanuts and cashews contain fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals, which provide you with nutrients to keep your metabolism going and energy to get through the day. They also may help lower cholesterol levels, which is beneficial for heart health.2

3. Nibble on dark chocolate.

Skip the guilt about eating chocolate! The occasional bite of flavonol-rich dark chocolate may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.3

4. Enjoy fatty fish for dinner.

Fatty fish, such as salmon, contain heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and may put you at lower risk for symptoms of depression, helping you stave off those winter blues.4

5. Start the day with oatmeal.

Oats and oatmeal contain fiber, vitamins and minerals that are important for keeping you well-fueled and energized to tackle the day – no matter how much snow is falling around you.5

6. Get those endorphins going.

Endorphins help keep us happy, awake and energetic. They are released in the brain when we’re working out, so go for a run, walk or hike to help boost your blood flow, release stress and clear your mind.6 Those bitter cold winter days will seem to melt away once your body heat rises from all that exercise!

7. Zen out.

Anxiety, sleep deprivation and stress are common during the winter months. Pick yourself up – mind, body and soul – by practicing yoga. With the combination of stretching, breathing techniques and muscle training, yoga may reduce anxiety, lower blood pressure, help you relax, release tension in your muscles and is good for your blood circulation. Namaste.

8. Laugh.

Laughter is known for being the best medicine – and it’s true. A study conducted by cardiologists at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore found that laughing can help reduce your risk of cardiac arrest. The study found that people with heart disease were 40 percent less likely to laugh in a variety of situations compared to people of the same age without heart disease.7  So let it all hang out! Laugh whenever you can, as much as you can.


1 “A combination of green tea extract and l-theanine improves memory and attention in subjects with mild cognitive impairment: a double-blind placebo-controlled study.” Accessed April 14. 2011.

2  The New England Journal of Medicine. “Association of Nut Consumption With Total and Cause-Specific Mortality.” Accessed February 28, 2014.

3 “Blood pressure is reduced and insulin sensitivity increased in glucose-intolerant hypertensive subjects after 15 days of consuming high-polyphenol dark chocolate.” Accessed February 28, 2014.

4 “ω-3 fatty acid intakes are inversely related to elevated depressive symptoms among United States women.” Accessed February 28, 2014.

5 “Acute effect of oatmeal on subjective measures of appetite and satiety compared to a ready-to-eat breakfast cereal: a randomized crossover trial.” Accessed September 9, 2013.

6 “Musical feedback during exercise machine workout enhances mood”, Accessed December 10, 2013.

7 University of Maryland Medical Center. “Laughter is the Best Medicine for Your Heart.” Accessed February 28, 2014.

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