The 6 Best Foods for Winter

It’s the first snow of the season, and it’s so heavy and wet that it clogs your snowblower. You have two choices. Option 1: Shove your arm between the augers and remove the blockage. The downside: You’ll lose your arm in the process, and having it reattached will probably bankrupt you. Option 2: Turn off the machine, grab a broom stick, and chip at the blockage until it crumbles.

You might be thinking, “What kind of lunatic would choose option 1?” Well, lunatics like the American people. The U.S. spends more than $2 trillion on health care each year, with much of that cash going toward the treatment of obesity-related complications like heart disease and diabetes. We’re fixing our health problems retroactively, with medication and surgery, even though we could prevent most of them by making smarter choices about what we eat.

There’s no better time to put this notion to the test than the winter months. Winter is not necessarily conducive to good health; the season conjures up images of calorie-loaded comfort foods, fireside naps, and runny noses. Read on for six everyday foods that will keep you healthy and strong from December to March and beyond, compliments of the all-new Eat This, Not That! Supermarket Survival Guide, which includes thousands of smart swaps that can help you shave 20 pounds or more in just 6 weeks.

Best Winter Food #1: Oatmeal
What it does: Helps you avoid the winter blues
Why it works: Sunlight signals your body to produce the feel-good hormone serotonin, so winter’s short, dark days may leave you in a less-than-cheery mood. If the doldrums persist, you may even find yourself suffering a serious form of depression known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). But don’t let Jack Frost get you down: Whole grain carbs like oatmeal can give your winter mood a much-needed boost. In a MIT study, researchers found that eating plenty of carbohydrates keeps serotonin levels up and can even prevent cravings for sweets. Refined carbs like doughnuts and white bread can be tempting winter comforts, but these foods will cause your blood sugar to quickly spike then plummet, leaving you in worse spirits than you were before. To stay happy and healthy, opt for whole grains instead. And for more instant secrets that will keep you healthy and fit in 2012, follow me right here on Twitter or sign up for our FREE Eat This, Not That! daily newsletter.
Other mood-improving foods: Whole wheat bread, brown rice, whole grain cereals, fruit

NEXT: Walnuts >>

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