Why do I crave stodgier food in win­ter?

Women's Health (UK) - - CONTENTS -

Why do you crave an in­dul­gent bowl of stodge in win­ter?

Rain­bow, schmain­bow. When Strictly is back on TV and it gets dark out­side 20 min­utes after your lunch break, only beige food will do. First, let’s de­bunk the myth that this is your body’s way of fat­ten­ing you up for win­ter – you’re not a hi­ber­nat­ing wood­land crea­ture. So, what is go­ing on? Blame your hor­mones, says reg­is­tered di­eti­tian Jo Holling­ton (nu­tri­ ‘They’re strongly in­flu­enced by sun­light, so when it be­gins to get dark ear­lier, your lev­els of sero­tonin (the happy one) start to fall,’ she ex­plains. ‘Eat­ing foods high in carbs gives them a boost.’ They trig­ger the re­lease of in­sulin into the blood­stream, which helps covert the amino acid tryp­to­phan into sero­tonin. ‘This ex­plains why you un­con­sciously – and con­sciously – reach for carbs to boost your mood,’ she points out. To keep hit­ting your five a day, Holling­ton rec­om­mends bulk­ing out dishes with nutri­ent-rich and fi­brous veg: add car­rots to stews, broc­coli to pasta and cour­gette to pizza; opt for tomato-based sauces over creamy ones when you can. Also, when it comes to carbs, opt for whole­grain pasta and brown rice – they take longer for your body to di­gest and re­lease glu­cose into the blood­stream more steadily, al­low­ing you to swerve spikes in blood sugar and ben­e­fit from slow-re­lease en­ergy.

Com­fort food

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