5 GREAT FOODS TO FIGHT DEPRESSION
Welcome to another WHAT’S ON THE MENU MONDAY Friends. Last week we discussed Post-Holiday Blues and Seasonal Affective Disorder and the ways in which we can reduce our feelings of depression and unhappiness. We also examined the Depression that can accompany illness and disease such as Cancer, and the treatments that can affect our emotional balance and mood.
This week we’ll continue our discussion with more solutions to these very common conditions. But, this time we’ll begin in the kitchen where many of our culinary staples can do wonders for a less-than-bright emotional outlook.
So, come with me as we explore 5 FOODS THAT CAN FIGHT DEPRESSION AND PROMOTE HAPPINESS :
1) BELL PEPPERS. They’re bright and beautiful and loaded with healthy benefits. Both red and green peppers offer a potent source of vitamin C, with the most concentrated amount found in the red variety. Of course, vitamin C is great for boosting our immune system and fighting cancer causing free radicals. But, it’s also great for boosting our morale and fighting lingering stress. When we combine these qualities with the anti-inflammatory phytochemicals, beta-carotene and folic acid found in bell peppers we have the perfect food for nourishing our body and reducing our depression. What’s more, just one cup of this veggie provides more than three times of our recommended daily amount of vitamin C.
2) EGGS. If you’re feeling a bit gloomy and down in the dumps, try cracking a few eggs. Eggs are rich in vitamin D, which works hard to improve a bad mood and reduce depression. Similar to omega-3 fatty acids and many antidepressants, it’s believed vitamin D cheers us up by increasing the amount of “feel good” chemicals serotonin and dopamine in our brain. And, don’t forget the yolk. Egg yolks are loaded with vitamin B, which improves neural function in the brain reducing stress and balancing mood. So, the next time you make an omelet, make sure you use the whole egg. In this way, you can help avoid depression by avoiding a vitamin B deficiency.
3) SALMON. This particular fish is one of the best healthy choices we can add to our diet. Cold water fish like salmon contain large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, the anti-inflammatory qualities of which have long been linked to a decreased risk for several cancers, including breast, colon and prostate cancer. Yet, omega-3 also improves cognitive function and memory. It can reduce hostility and decrease depression. And, this fatty acid also increases our production of serotonin — our “feel good” chemical — and allows it to pass through cell membranes and multiply throughout our body.
4) SPINACH. Spinach has long been known as a wonderful and anti-inflammatory that helps treat arthritis and gout while protecting us from cancers of the prostate, liver and bladder. But, this leafy green veggie also is one of our top depression fighting foods. As we know, depression is linked to a shortage of essential nutrients, including folic acid. And, just like a bell pepper, spinach is packed with folic acid. An increase in folic acid increases the production of S-adenosyl methionine, which in turn helps produce more of our “feel good” chemicals serotonin and dopamine. And, it’s this dynamic duo that helps keep us emotionally balanced, happy and positive.
5) ROOIBOS TEA. There’s nothing like a nice cup of hot tea to soothe rattled nerves. Especially if that tea is the red, naturally sweet brew known as rooibos tea. This caffeine-free beverage is rich in anti-inflammatory and antiviral qualities. The phenolic compounds found in rooibos fight free radicals and help protect against cancer. Moreover, rooibos tea contains a powerful flavonoid called aspalathin, which reduces stress hormones while promoting relaxation and sleep. It decreases nervous tension and increases feelings of well being and contentment.
So, the next time you’re feeling down in the dumps – blue – or unhappy — try this on for size. Whip up a three-egg omelet. Add a cup of sauteed spinach and a cup of sliced bell peppers. Mix in some flaked salmon. And, top it all off with a nice, hot cup of rooibos tea.
It’s the perfect recipe for fighting depression, anxiety and fatigue. Moreover, it’s a great way to please your palate and satisfy your appetite while maintaining a healthy weight.
With that in mind, I want to thank you all again for joining me. Keep your shoulders back, your chin up, move forward and have a terrific week. Until next time, stay in GOOD HEALTH and . . .
JUST A FEW FACTS
GETTING TO KNOW YOUR SALMON
1) The high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids in salmon is the direct result of its cold water environment as cold water promotes the production of omega-3 fatty acids within the fish.
2) When possible, stick with wild salmon — especially if you’re watching your weight. Farmed salmon contains more omega-6 fatty acids, which actually may inhibit weight loss.
3) When fighting depression, always choose salmon as your protein. While salmon increases the production of our “feel good” chemical serotonin — cheese, chicken and turkey can actually decrease our production of serotonin.