Why do you crave carbs in Winter?

Does the cold wet weather mean you start to notice the new gourmet pasta and rice billboards?  I am sure there is a method behind them advertising right about now when the weather starts to turn.  While there might be a primitive explanation that our bodies are stockpiling for usual cold winter with little food availability, it can also be explained by some basic body functions.

In winter the days are shorted, and a normal adult will spend less time in the sunlight with darkness on the commute into work and ditto on the commute home.  This means your body is getting less sunshine and sunshine triggers the production of serotonin in the body.  Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is in charge of boosting your mood.  When the light goes at night time, the serotonin converts to melatonin, which makes us sleepy, and then when the sun comes back up, it goes back to serotonin and we go about our days like happy little workers!

So weren’t we talking about carbs?  Yes!  Carbs come into this little story because consuming carbs boosts the availability of an amino acid Tryptophan, which is what your body converts in serotonin and vitamin B6.  The problem is that you are probably not eating Tryptophan rich foods like green leafy vegetables, seafood and green vegetables.

Eating carbs can provide the short term mood lift that your mind is looking for, but is only short term.  During these phases you are probably not thinking  a big serve of broccoli will cure your hankering for a ham and cheese toasted sandwich. 

Here are a few tips:

  • Get outside in your lunch break, lay, sit, sprawl in the sun as much as possible during winter.  It will help keep your vitamin D levels up, plus will keep you skinnier
  • Try to mix your carbs with lots of green vegetable and leafy greens, make soups and stews that have both potato and broccoli.  Put some fresh spinach on your sandwich.

Catherine Craig
Catherine Craig

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