The transition from winter to spring brings with it longer days, milder temperatures and the awakening of nature; however, these long-awaited and very pleasant changes can lead to particularly sensitive people certain ailments such as fatigue, difficulty concentrating, mood swings, insomnia, restlessness. This general malaise is defined as “spring syndrome” or “spring depression”: it has no pathological nature, it lasts a few weeks and every year affects about 2 million Italians, mostly women.
After the winter, our immune system, responsible for defending the body from harmful attacks, must take action to free itself from the toxins accumulated due to a greater sedentary lifestyle, a diet generally richer in calories and fat, stress and pollution.
Adequate nutrition can help reduce symptoms , especially those related to fatigue and difficulty concentrating, it can help us eliminate accumulated toxins and regain the energy to regain physical shape.
To combat fatigue, a balanced and varied diet is essential, which favors the right intake not only of macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates, fats) but also of micronutrients (vitamins and mineral salts) . The latter in fact perform many important antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, protective and regulating functions of the metabolic processes that take place within the body.
Change of season: micronutrients as precious allies
– Vitamin B1: protects the nervous tissue, acts on the metabolism of carbohydrates.
– Vitamin B2: protects mucous membranes and skin, facilitates the absorption of fats.
– Vitamin B6: acts on the metabolism of sugars and fats, allows a good use of proteins.
– Vitamin B12: it is essential for the proper functioning of the nervous system, it promotes the metabolism of proteins and sugars.
– Folic Acid: intervenes in the synthesis of substances essential for the life of cells, modulates mood swings.
– Vitamin C: protects cell membranes and capillary walls, promotes iron absorption, modulates mood swings.
– Iron: enters the composition of red blood cells, prevents anemia and pressure drops, reduces the sense of fatigue.
– Zinc: acts as a neurotransmitter, modulates the transmission of impulses; its deficiency causes mood disturbances.
– Selenium: important in brain function, it strengthens the defense system.
How can we effectively counter spring syndrome?
- We eat 3 main meals and 2 light snacks throughout the day to reduce symptoms and maintain adequate blood sugar and “fuel” levels.
- We always have breakfast! It is advisable to consume hot foods or at room temperature, avoiding cold foods. An adequate breakfast can include, for example, a hot drink (milk, tea, herbal tea), bread or rusks with honey or jam or ricotta, a fruit or citrus juice, a simple sweet.
- Mid-morning and afternoon snacks can consist of yogurt, fruit, raw vegetables, or a small portion of dried fruit.
- We consume 2 portions of seasonal vegetables a day , preferring raw ones to ensure a good supply of mineral salts, vitamins and antioxidants.
- Every day we eat 3 seasonal fruits : spring fruit is particularly rich in precious substances!
- We vary as much as possible the composition of lunch and dinner.
- If we consume a dry first course, we choose simple condiments , based on vegetables and we also introduce whole grains. Green light for soups, creams, pureed vegetables and / or legumes!
- We alternate the consumption of fish with that of legumes, poultry, meats and eggs, prepared in a simple way, flavored with aromatic herbs and spices (precious sources of antioxidants) always complemented by a vegetable side dish.
- We use moderate amounts of seasoning fats, preferably raw on food, preferring extra virgin olive oil or sunflower or corn or grape seed oil .
- We consume abundant liquids every day: not only water, but also fruit and vegetable centrifuged, green tea, herbal teas.
- We abandon the sedentary lifestyle by inserting, for example, a brisk walk for at least 30 ‘a day.
- Finally, let’s not forget that in order to “recharge” our body’s batteries we must guarantee it an adequate number of hours of night rest .
LARN Tables (Levels of Reference Intake of Nutrients and Energy for the Italian population) 2014-SINU (Italian Society of Human Nutrition): www.sinu.it
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