We know the winter months can be rough on your mental health. The sun sets early every day, and the frigid temperatures and mounds of snow make you want to stay inside. The first few months of the year can like years in and of themselves.
But it doesn’t all have to be doom and gloom. In fact, you can bring a little happiness and light into your life right inside your kitchen. There are plenty of ingredients out there whose properties that can decrease the effects of depression and increase serotonin in the body. Take a moment to bring one of these ingredients into your life through one of our recipes below. Chances are you’ll find yourself smiling before you’ve even taken a bite from the pure joy that is cooking.
Tryptophan, an essential amino acid in eggs and spinach, can exert an antidepressant effect by influencing the production of serotonin, making our Creamed Spinach Dippy Eggs a nutritious dish for any time of day. Plus, spinach contains folate, which produces dopamine, another calming and happy source of emotion, in your brain.
Add a vivid start to the morning with these naturally bright delights thanks to the addition of spinach. Just like the recipe above, this dish is packed with tryptophan for a deliciously cheerful breakfast. Not to mention, studies show that the brighter and lighter the color, like our gorgeous Green Eggs, the happier and more optimistic it can make you feel.
Blueberries, rich in flavonoids, can help bring about an antidepressant-like effect. When combined with the tryptophan content of bananas, you have a superfood power duo. Our Berry Cobbler with Banana Ice Cream makes use of both these ingredients for a sweet, feel-good treat.
Not only can this soup full of turmeric, fresh vegetables, ginger, and lentils help ease your inflammation issues, but, it could also help ease depression. Butternut squash is rich in Vitamin B6, the absence of which has been connected to depression. So, simmer a pot of our Anti-Inflammatory Butternut Squash and Lentil Soup the next time you’re feeling down.
The omega-3s in salmon are known to be a wellness booster, but did you know they can be a mood booster, too? EPA and DHA are two types of omega-3s found in salmon which have been linked to lower levels of depression. Add cistruz yuzu to a Salmon Poke plate: it has a stress reducing effect…and it makes an utterly joyful flavor combination.
Simmer yourself up a steaming pot of umami goodness with this rich, earthy Mushroom Stock recipe. Mushrooms are full of potassium and ergothioneine, which could help prevent stress and regulate nerve signals. You’ll be ready to dig in after a sprinkle of cheese and green onion on top.
You’ve already heard the health benefits of bananas above, but have you ever heard about the antidepressant effects of peanut butter? The compound beta-sitosterol within peanut butter works to help reduce feelings of anxiety. Just slather some butter on a slice of this moist, decadent Peanut Butter Cup Banana Bread for a little morning pick-me-up.
Incorporate the feel-good ingredient of yogurt into this filling family dinner. Gut health is an essential part of mental wellbeing and the probiotic lactobacillus in yogurt can improve both these elements. We turn yogurt into a special tahini sauce that compliments the Grilled Zucchini but still lets the Corn Relish shine.
Eating fruit makes you feel good well beyond the fact that it’s healthy for you. Pineapple is one of the fruits that delivers a dose of tryptophan. As with eggs and spinach, this amino acid influences the production of serotonin. Our Cranberry Pineapple Upside Down Cake is sure to turn your frown upside down.
This unique Savory Cheesecake with Grapes combines the richness of cream cheese and blue cheese, the crispy crunch of phyllo, and roasted grapes. Not only does a bite of this savory starter tingle your taste buds, but the blue cheese can be a preventative measure against depression. LH dipeptide found in fermented foods such as blue cheese can help suppress depression-related symptoms.
It’s time to take everything you just learned about antidepressant foods and put it into one big Charcuterie Board using fresh produce from your local farmers. Start with a grilled cheese filled with tryptophan-laden cheeses like Abondance and Tomme de Savoie. Then, move on to completing the board with omega-3 rich salmon and whatever other serotonin fulfilling foods you enjoy.
Story by Kylie Thomas
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