If you, like most people, have experienced what is known as ‘winter blues’, you would understand why the cold and drab nature of the season could sometimes affect a person mentally and emotionally. There is even a medical term for winter depression – Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).1

Stress-free couple laughing in each others arms.

Whatever the cause for your winter blues, you don’t need to feel down. To enjoy the colder months of the year, you can try these simple tips for a more cheerful wintry season:

Drink Green Tea

Did you know that drinking green tea has the effect of reducing psychological distress? According to the results of a study, drinking five or more cups of green tea daily can reduce the incidence of psychological distress by 20 percent.2 The study consisting of 42,093 Japanese found an inverse association between green tea consumption and psychological distress.2 Apparently, those who drank at least five cups of green tea per day – as compared to those who drank less than one cup per day – were less likely to suffer from depression.3

Cited as being the “healthiest beverage on the planet”,2 green tea is also great for your teeth. According to a study published in the Journal of Periodontology, researchers found that consumption of green tea is linked to a reduction on all three indicators of gum disease, in addition to being beneficial in lowering the growth of cancer cells in the body.4

Meditate Or Go To A Yoga Class

Meditation and stretching exercises like yoga provide a more physical method of combating stress. A 20-minute meditation is apparently all it takes to deal with the stress that is built over an entire day.5 In the case of winter blues, meditation may help in the form of encouraging emotional stability5 – perhaps resisting the urge to curl up and feel despondent.

Allowing your body to relax and regroup may also have benefits for your oral health. Since the mouth is connected to other parts of the body – in particular the nose, throat and ears – researchers have found links between bacteria in the mouth and a variety of symptoms and ailments affecting the rest of the body.6 Another study suggest a link between composition of saliva and stress levels, all of which can be better managed through meditation.6 According to the same study, meditation is beneficial towards lowering the bacteria count in the mouth.6

Eat Natural Healthy Foods

Finally, eating healthy foods can help to relax and de-stress as well. Some of the interesting de-stressing foods include walnuts and berries.7 All types of berries that are rich in vitamin C – including strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries – are known to lower blood pressure as well as cortisol levels.7 Cortisol is a steroid hormone released in response to stress and low blood-glucose concentration.8

According to studies conducted by the National Institutes of Health, walnuts contain omega-3 fatty acids that help to keep cortisol and other stress hormones like adrenaline under control.7 Walnuts also make a great alternative snack over chocolates and sweets. Besides being low in sugar, nuts contain good amounts of calcium and phosphorus that can help to strengthen your teeth.10 Do exercise caution when consuming berries though as some of them – blueberries, in particular – can cause tooth stains.10 

If you’re looking for a trusted dentist to monitor your dental health and meet your oral care needs, please contact Sydney CBD Dental at (02) 9232 3900.

References

1. "Do you have the winter blues? - Stress, anxiety and depression." NHS Choices. http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/Pages/winter-blues-SAD.aspx.

2. "Research Shows that Green Tea Can Relieve Stress." Adrenal Fatigue Solution. March 24, 2017. https://adrenalfatiguesolution.com/green-tea-can-relieve-stress/.

3. "Can Green Tea Reduce Anxiety and Stress?". March 22, 2016. https://bodyecology.com/articles/can-green-tea-reduce-anxiety-stress.php.

4. "Drinking Green Tea May Be Relaxing, but It Could Also Be Good for Your Teeth." Colgate Oral Care Center. June 01, 2010. http://www.colgate.com/en/us/oc/oral-health/basics/nutrition-and-oral-health/article/ada-06-drinking-green-tea-may-be-relaxing.

5. "De-stress with Guided Meditation" Art of Living (Global). https://www.artofliving.org/meditation/guided-meditation.

6. Edderai, Dr. Jean Jacques. "Benefits of Meditation for the Mouth." Cosmetic Dentist Miami. Accessed July 25, 2017.

7. http://www.northmiamibeachdentist.com/en/blog/2016/08/15/benefits-of-meditation-for-the-mouth/.

8. "6 Healthy Foods That Relax, Calm, and De-Stress." Women's Health. April 15, 2017. http://www.womenshealthmag.com/weight-loss/calm-foods/slide/3

9. "Cortisol." Wikipedia. July 21, 2017. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cortisol

10. "Top 7 Best and Worst Health Foods for Your Teeth." Renegade Health. July 03, 2013. http://renegadehealth.com/blog/bestworstfoodsteeth.