top of page

Southern Comfort: Mood-Boosting Menopause Nutrition for Winter Blues

women eating food

As winter sets in, bringing with it shorter days and colder nights, those of us in Louisiana – and many other women on their menopausal journey – often find these changes particularly challenging.

In the South, where we enjoy warm, sunny weather most of the year, the dreariness of winter, coping with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can make mood swings during menopause can be worse.

Here in the South, we know a thing or two about finding comfort and joy in the little things – especially our food. As a proud Louisianian, I've always found happiness in what I call “winter foods” like gumbo and etouffee. However, knowing that nutrition plays a huge role in our menopausal journey, I adjust my menu (just a big).  So, let's dive into mood-boosting nutrition to navigate these emotional shifts.

Understanding the Link Between Nutrition, Menopause, and SAD:

We know menopause comes with changes that can affect your mood. Similarly, SAD, a type of depression related to changes in seasons, is often linked to reduced sunlight in winter. Both can impact serotonin levels, which is key in mood regulation. Nutrition can help you with these levels, offering a natural way to boost your mood.

Key Nutrients to Focus On:

  1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Found in fish like salmon and mackerel, omega-3s are known to improve brain function and mood. They play a role in serotonin production, potentially easing menopausal mood swings and SAD symptoms.

  2. Vitamin D: With less exposure to sunlight in winter, Vitamin D deficiency can worsen. Foods like fortified milk, egg yolks, and mushrooms can help maintain Vitamin D levels, crucial for mood regulation.

  3. Complex Carbohydrates: Whole grains, fruits, and vegetables can increase serotonin production, providing a calming effect. They also stabilize blood sugar levels, preventing mood swings.

  4. Lean Proteins: Sources like chicken, turkey, and legumes provide amino acids that are precursors to mood-regulating neurotransmitters.

  5. Dark Chocolate: High in flavonoids, dark chocolate can boost mood and alleviate stress. However, moderation is key.

Easy-to-Make Mood-Boosting Recipe:

Cajun-Spiced Salmon with Sweet Potato Mash


  • 4 salmon fillets

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 tbsp Cajun seasoning (preferably Tony’s)

  • 1 tsp garlic powder

  • 1 tsp paprika

  • Salt and black pepper, to taste

  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt (for the mash)

  • Fresh parsley, chopped (for garnish)

  • Lemon wedges (for serving)


  1. Preheat the Oven: Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).

  2. Prepare the Sweet Potato Mash:

  • Boil the sweet potato cubes in salted water until they are soft, about 15-20 minutes.

  • Drain the sweet potatoes and mash them with a fork or potato masher.

  • Mix in the Greek yogurt until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm.

  1. Season the Salmon:

  • Pat the salmon fillets dry with paper towels.

  • In a small bowl, mix the Cajun seasoning, garlic powder, and paprika.

  • Rub each fillet with olive oil and then coat generously with the seasoning mix.

  1. Cook the Salmon:

  • Place the seasoned salmon fillets on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

  • Bake in the preheated oven for about 12-15 minutes or until the salmon is cooked through and flakes easily with a fork.

  1. Serve:

  • Plate each salmon fillet with a generous serving of sweet potato mash.

  • Garnish with chopped parsley and serve with a lemon wedge.

  1. Enjoy:

  • Enjoy this hearty, mood-boosting meal that brings a taste of the South to your table!


This dish combines the health benefits of salmon, rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, with the comforting and nutritious sweet potato, providing a well-rounded meal that's not only delicious but also good for your mood and overall health.

Incorporating these nutritional strategies into your daily diet can significantly impact your overall mood during menopause and the winter months. Remember, while diet is a powerful tool, it's one part of a holistic approach to managing menopause and SAD. Stay active, seek sunlight whenever possible, and consider talking to a healthcare professional for additional support and supplement advice.

Note: Always consider consulting with a nutritionist or a healthcare provider before making significant changes to your diet, especially during menopause.


bottom of page