More than 5 million Canadians* suffer the winter blues, but it only takes about 28 days to change one's blueprint
TORONTO, Jan. 16, 2012 /CNW/ - Avoid feeling blah today, otherwise known
as 'Blue Monday,' the most depressing day of the year, by consuming
mood boosting brain foods. The Ontario Apple Growers and mood food
expert, Patricia Muzzi, hope to inspire happiness by keeping the blues
at bay this winter, and beyond, with a simple formula: mood foods =
healthy brain = good mood.
Loosely defined, mood foods are foods that are wholesome and natural,
and that contain specific vitamins and nutrients that have a direct
impact on brain function. When combined with regular exercise, Patricia
maintains that most people will experience a noticeable upswing in
"Most people make the connection between food and its affects on their
physical body but overlook the profound affect it has on their overall
mood. People need to shift their mindset and habits and start eating to
feed their brain," says Patricia, personal chef and founder of Mood
Food for thought: are you feeding your brain?
To determine if you are eating to feed your brain, answer the following
five questions with a 'yes' or 'no.'
Do your eating habits remain fairly consistent throughout the seasons of
Do you have trouble concentrating or feel sluggish after lunch?
Do you consume foods/beverages that are high in sugar or caffeine for an
instant energy boost?
Do you wake up tired even after sleeping at least seven straight hours?
Do you eat until your stomach feels full to ensure you are fuelled for
"If you answered 'yes' to three or more of these questions, you may not
be feeding your brain the vital nutrients it needs to keep your mood
and energy levels elevated," says Patricia. "Eating foods that help
maintain balanced brain chemistry throughout the day reduces the desire
for an instant, and temporary, sugar fix and keeps you feeling
satisfied, alert and calm."
"The seasonal drop in sunlight affects our brain chemistry which leads
to a change in brain functions, such as concentration and mood," says
Patricia. "The key to healthy brain chemistry lies in knowing how and
what foods impact brain health. Mood foods are important year-round,
but especially during the winter months when the potential for
depression or 'moodiness' is much higher."
"Ontario apples are a powerful mood food because of the high levels of
antioxidants, flavonoids and vitamins that they contain," says
Patricia. "Antioxidants and flavonoids protect brain and neuron
function thus heightening thinking ability and alertness while complex
carbohydrates and B vitamins are critical for balanced serotonin levels
which can increase optimism and improve sleep. Even the pure juice of
apples has been shown to help reduce problems associated with memory
loss. When combined, all of the properties found in apples help to
nourish the brain and produce 'happy' chemicals that can help improve
Patricia recommends consuming at least one Ontario apple a day, whether
fresh out of hand or as part of a balanced meal. Together with the
Ontario Apple Growers, she has created four mood enhancing recipes that
feature Ontario apples alongside other brain boosting foods: Baked Ontario Apple Frittata Cups, Ontario Apple Mac and Cheese Bake,
Quesadillas with Ontario Apple Salsa and Ontario Apples and Almond Butter Whole Wheat Cookies. For these and other recipes, visit www.onapples.com.
"Drastically changing eating habits, or replacing certain foods with
healthier alternatives can sometimes be a challenge," admits Patricia.
"Especially after the holidays, as many people find themselves coming
off an eating frenzy of rich, decadent foods. By eating a certain way
for an extended period of time, we end up creating an internal
blueprint. Our brain comes to expect certain habits, and when it is
deprived of those rituals, it sends out a 'signal' in the form of an
emotion, for example moodiness, or craving."
It takes an average of 28 days to change a blueprint, according to
Patricia. "It is important to gradually make changes without
excessively alarming the brain. Eating good mood foods eases the brain
from any stress it undergoes while changing eating patterns. It needs
the glucose from complex carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables to keep
it going, and any other nourishing vitamins and minerals will further
enhance its performance."
*Between the months of October and April, it is estimated that 2 to 3
out of every 100 Canadians (approximately between 680,000 and one
million Canadians) suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD),
episodes of depression that usually occur during winter. Approximately
15 per cent (more than five million Canadians) have the 'winter blues'
experiencing less severe symptoms including low energy, withdrawal and
anxiety. These numbers are based on reported cases only, which suggests
that the number of Canadians suffering from SAD or the 'winter blues'
may in fact be higher. (Canadian Mental Health Association, http://cmhaff.ca/mood-disorders/season-affective-disorder-sad)
Enjoy local apples year round
According to a recent Nielson study, 75 per cent of Canadians would
choose to eat local foods over anything else. In the past, as a result
of the Canadian climate, consuming fresh, local apples was limited to
harvest season, mostly between the months of September and November.
However, controlled atmosphere storage (known as CA), carefully
controls temperature, humidity, oxygen and carbon dioxide, allowing
Canadians to enjoy superior, local apples throughout most of the year.
About Ontario Apple Growers
The Ontario Apple Growers represents 215 commercial apple growers. There
are approximately 16,000 acres of apples produced in Ontario. The major
apple-producing areas in Ontario are along the shores of Lake Ontario,
Lake Erie, Lake Huron and Georgian Bay. For more information, visit www.onapples.com.
SOURCE Ontario Apple Growers
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For more information on the Ontario Apple Growers, or to arrange an interview, please contact: