Seven Kidney Diet Foods to Fight Winter-Time Blues

Feeling the winter-time blues? You’re not alone. Seasonal blues are a common occurrence for nearly one-third of the American population. Scientists tell us winter blues are related to fewer hours of daylight, harsh weather and less intense sunlight. A lack of physical activity and staying indoors too long also can take their toll. As a result, your body produces fewer mood-enhancing chemicals. Throw in financial and holiday stress, and it’s no wonder so many people are fighting the winter-time blues.

The good news is that you can improve how you feel with food. Here’s a list of seven mood-lifting, kidney-friendly foods that can be worked into your diet plan.

1. Salmon

This fish is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. A diet high in foods containing omega-3 is associated with lower rates of depression and pessimism. In addition to salmon, mackerel, tuna, flaxseed oil, canola oil and omega-3 fortified margarine or eggs can boost omega-3 levels.

2. Turkey

Foods high in the amino acid tryptophan increase serotonin production, a neurotransmitter that helps produce calmness and reduce pain. Large amounts of tryptophan can even cause sleepiness.

3. Steak

Iron-rich foods include red meats, poultry, seafood and iron-fortified cereals. Low iron levels are associated with depression, fatigue and inability to concentrate.

4. Leafy green vegetables

Go for asparagus, broccoli, collards, mustard greens, romaine lettuce and turnip greens (limit to a 1/2 cup portion if you are on a potassium restriction). A low intake of folate is linked to increased depression and anemia. People on dialysis are at greater risk of deficiency due to diet restrictions and vitamin losses during the dialysis treatment. In addition to vegetables, folic acid fortified grain products and breakfast cereals boost folate levels.

5. Coffee

Caffeine-containing beverages can have an antidepressant effect and increase alertness. Consume caffeinated drinks such as coffee earlier in the day to avoid interference with sleep. Stay away from energy drinks or excessively caffeinated beverages as these can disrupt sleep and contribute to bad mood. If you are on a fluid restriction, be sure to count any beverage as part of your liquid intake.

6. Air-popped popcorn

Popcorn and other low-fat snacks, such as low-fat crackers or low-salt pretzels are a better choice than greasy foods that can make you feel sluggish after eating.

7. English muffin with egg

This is a good choice along with other breakfast foods, such as a bagel with cream cheese or cereal with a small amount of milk or unfortified rice milk. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day to boost energy. Skipping this meal can contribute to crankiness, mood swings and a drop in blood sugar.

Break away from the blues with kidney-friendly food

Be sure to consult your dietitian about these good-mood foods to see if it fits your individualized kidney diet plan. If so, your dietitian will let you know the appropriate serving size of these foods. If your blues persist despite food changes, increased exercise and light exposure, make it a point to discuss how you feel with your doctor, nurse or social worker.