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Natural ways to beat the winter blues

Kasia Bodurka, reporter
February 23, 2013 — It's that time of year, where lack of adequate sun and persistent cold temperatures could have many of us feeling a little sluggish. But it doesn't have to stay that way. Experts are providing a few, yet highly effective, ways to ward off those winter blues.

With longer nights during winter months, getting sufficient amounts of vitamin D can be challenging
With longer nights during winter months, getting sufficient amounts of vitamin D can be challenging

The Mood Disorder Association of Ontario says the winter blues are quite common, and that many of us experience changes in energy levels and feelings of over all well being.
Up to six per cent of Canadians experience a more powerful form of the winter blues, known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, in which clinical attention and bright light therapy is recommended.

However, for the majority suffering from milder conditions, some natural solutions may be the best bet.

Sofia Pistrila is a Certified Holistic Practitioner. She recommends the following natural supplementation's in dealing with some of the year's dreariest months:
  • Start with vitamin D3. We make it during the summer when we're exposed to the sun but we're not making them during the winter. Therefore, it's really important to supplement with it.
  • Essential fatty acids -- specifically Omega-3 coming from fish oils. Cod liver oil, fatty fish like mackerel, salmon, sardines for instance. They build that connection between our neurons, our brain cells and actually they build our receptors for serotonin, the feel good neurotransmitter in our brains, especially in the winter.
  • Adaptogenic herbs like ginseng or  ashwagandha. They're known to lift our mood and adapt our bodies to any kind of stress.
In addition to taking supplements and extracts, experts also recommend keeping an active lifestyle during the cold winter months in order to burn calories and increase your energy levels.

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