Time to look at what we are eating
We recently wrote a piece on Season Affective Disorder (SAD) and ways you can relieve some of the symptoms of a low mood caused by grey days and cold weather. Along with fresh air and access to natural light, we referenced looking at the food you're eating and whether it is supplying you with the right nutrients and a good amount of energy.
The weather can affect what food choices you eat and a miserable day can often mean we are tempted to seek comfort in foods that are high in sugar for that initial rush of the mood-booster serotonin. Unfortunately with foods like this we often experience an enormous energy crash shortly after.
Here we recommend some foods that will give your a more sustained level of energy which will in turn have a positive repercussion on your weight, mood, happiness and productivity.
Oily fish like mackerel
Oily fish is often referenced as a key component to an energy rich diet on account of it being laden with Omega 3.
Other benefits reported to come from this glistening fish is a lowered chance of heart disease and glowing effects on your skin.
Good sources of iron like kale
As women, in particular, it's really important to keep our iron levels up. According to the National Diet and Nutrition Survey, four in 10 (40%) girls and women aged 16-24 and almost half (44%) of girls aged 11-15 have low iron stores.
Being low on iron can make you feel tired, faint and look pale and will impact on how energetic you feel. Luckily you can't see for the amount of iron-rich vegetables around these days with Kale being a current veg-of-the-moment. You can have it whipped into a bright green juice or steamed with your dinner to replenish your iron levels.
Other iron-rich vegetables include spinach, Pak Choi and Swiss Chard.
Eggs are the great-grandmother of energy foods, having been around for ions and eaten by our own ancestors. This is for good reason because they are packed with protein and nutrients including thiamin, riboflavin, folate, B12 and B6.
Eggs are cheap and versatile, you can have them any time of the day, boiled, poached, scrambled, fried and they will particularly help you after a long cycle as the protein helps to rebuild muscle mass after physical exercise.
Mood lifting Goji berries
Goji berries are a berry-fruit found in Asia and America. They are usually dried before being exported elsewhere in the world.
They are alleged to be one of the most nutritious berries in the world due to their antioxidant properties and as a source of a whole list of attributes such as protein, amino acids and vitamins B1, B2, B6, E and C. As if that wasn't enough, the Goji is also said to improve your sexual libido and has even been dubbed as the 'Viagra of China'!
They are easy to throw into your porridge or salads or even bake them into flapjacks to take on your long rides.
You can consume them in many different ways. Add them to your smoothies, breakfast, salads or use them in your trail mix or in your awesome chocolate desserts.
For one such treat - check out this healthy Nut Butter Cup recipe.
No - it's not a food - but hydration is so important we had to include it.
Water is needed to carry all the good stuff (from the foods above) and oxygen to your cells. Without enough of it, you'll begin to feel very low in energy.
Women, on average, should aim to drink eight cups of water a day - but of course those who exercise, and sweat, more will need to add still further to this.
For more advice on staying hydrated on the bike, check out this piece we wrote with Emma Barraclough, Senior Sports Nutritionist for SIS.