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20 Foods to Fight the Winter Blues

February 2, 2013 , , , , , , , ,


By Trina Remedios, Health Me Up

Cherry Tomato Mix

Cherry Tomato Mix (Photo credit: photofarmer)

Feeling depressed, sad, miserable? Then the answer lies in therapy and food.  Yes food; people may have told you to socialize, go out clubbing, get drunk and high, but they never told you that happiness lies not in money but in good depression-fighting food. Jokes apart, certain foods have specific properties that spark and stimulate certain glands and hormones to ignite happiness. To get an in-depth analysis, we list out top 20 foods for happiness that can dispel depression and negativity.

Coconut

India is surrounded by the coast on three sides, making coconut a vital component of cooking and production of other commodities. But who knew that coconut is responsible for your mood. The tricky bit is that, as with every other food, moderation or the lack of it influences how much you’ll benefit from this coastal plant.

Within limited portions, coconut milk is a healthy complete fat that helps re-build tissue and improve body functions. However, if you eat too much of it, you will invite unhealthy weight gain, especially if your coconut milk intake is not proportionate to your exercise and physical activity levels. Fresh coconut contains certain fats that enhance your mood. By eating coconut shavings, you’re not only boosting your mood but also improving the health of your brain.

Walnuts

From essential omega fats to protein and fiber, there are several reasons why you should consume walnuts and you have several ways to add walnuts to any dish. But today we’re talking about how walnuts improve your mood. There are three properties present in walnuts that make you happy and avoid depression:

Magnesium is responsible for boosting your mood, strengthening your body and cell growth. It is helpful for insulin production.

Polyphenols and antioxidants present in walnuts improve neural connections and the health of the brain that makes you more alert.

Cherry tomatoes

Cherry tomatoes are making ways into Indian markets especially in major cities. Besides the fact that they ‘look-so-cute’ and make a great ingredient in salads, cherry tomatoes can also ward off depression.

In cherry tomatoes the component lycopene has antioxidants that are responsible for enhancing your mood. The regular tomatoes include this property as well. Be sure to cook the tomatoes just enough to wrinkle the skins, and add a healthy oil like virgin coconut oil, olive oil or canola oi. This releases the lycopene and makes it usable by the body.

Spinach

Spinach is a versatile vegetable with many health benefits, but did you know that spinach works wonder for your mental health as well?

Besides iron, spinach has folic acid too that makes you feel better. Folic acid improves the health of red blood cells and your immunity, protecting you from diseases that soak out your happiness.

Eggs

Eggs are important for baking, improving fitness, rich source of proteins, vitamin B, zinc and Omega 3. Eggs are a great way to start your day; they give you that boost of energy needed for an entire day’s activities, including workouts.

In terms of happiness, eggs prevent hunger and unnecessary food cravings, which in turn help you eat less food. This helps you maintain a healthy weight that is free of unhealthy indulgences, and more importantly – blood sugar spikes from unhealthy snacking. This process itself makes you happier, you eat less, you avoid junk food and you can lose weight.

Whole grain

There are good carbs and there are bad carbs, good carbs help you fight sadness and depression. This is another reason why you should not fear carbohydrates. Whole grain products have theessence of happiness…

It relieves you from constipation and provides energy; you can’t have a hearty laugh if you’re exhausted. Selenium present in whole grains fights free radicals and boosts immunity. It is an effective tool to ward off diseases; it also relieves you from constipation, which can cause discomfort.

Honey

Honey is a sugar substitute and it is organic. Honey will make anyone happy, and keep you going like a busy bee. Kaempferol and quercetin are two properties present in honey that improve the health of the brain as well as reduce inflammation in the brain. If you dip strawberries in honey, it works as an aphrodisiac and improves your mood. Perfect for a romantic evening!

Cheese

Cheese is fattening in large quantities and difficult to digest. Yet you cannot fight the creamy and cheesy flavours of this dairy product. You may be tempted to empty out the cheese can or generously sprinkle cheese over pizza, no doubt it tastes delicious but also make you pile on the pounds.

Therefore, portion control is your best friend when it comes to cheese consumption. But why are we mentioning this here? Because in the right quantity cheese can make you happy. Zinc is the core property that you need to fight depression. Your body does not produce enough zinc, so cheese is a good source. Zinc helps in cell development, improves the texture of your skin and hair, and builds your cognitive responses.

Asparagus

The key to fighting depression is with folic acid. A low level of folate is linked to depression. People usually rely on pills for folate, but did you know that asparagus has high levels of folate and tryptophan?

Tryptophan produces serotonin in the brain that stabilises moods. Therefore asparagus is a great vegetable to improve you mood as it contains both, folate and tryptophan.

Turkey

This bird is mostly carved in India for Christmas as a celebration, but did you know that besides being a good source of protein and nutrition, turkey can also make you happy? Earlier we mentioned that tryptophan present in asparagus fuels happiness and this route is a great way to fight depression. If you’re a hard core carnivore, then turkey is your source of tryptophan. It produces serotonin to balance and improve your mood.

Dark chocolate

Dark chocolate has many benefits from weight loss to spicing up your sex life. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, chocolate is the most popular gift for most couples. Pour it over fruits or nuts or drink it from a cup, remember the magic of cocoa lies in dark chocolate.

Dark chocolate is an antioxidant that improves blood and prevents premature ageing. Cocoa is a potent source of serotonin, dopamine, and phenylethylamine. Top three well-studied neurotransmitters, they help in keeping depression at bay and are associated with the feel good factor.

Red beans

Consuming beans without soaking or cooking the right way may cause flatulence in some people, but these are also good sources of proteins for vegetarians. To be more specific, red beans contain antioxidants far richer than berries. Amino acid in proteins and iron helps fight brain disorders. A healthy brain is a happy brain.

Salmon

Why is salmon such a popular ingredient with nutritionists? Salmon is popularly known as a rich source of Omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 reduces blood pressure, reduces cholesterol and reduces inflammation in the body. The fats present in salmon are good for the nervous system and the brain. Healthy fats from salmon improve the brain and keep it healthy and keep you smiling.

Beetroot

Beetroots contain several nutrients and vitamins that are responsible for fighting depression:

– Folate

– Magnesium

– Uridine

These properties help in enhancing your mood as they work as neurotransmitters.

Banana

The next you feel depressed, eat a banana, it provides energy, helps in development of cells, and promotes the health of the nervous system. If you are irritated, angry, stressed or depressed you are low in vitamin B, and bananas are the place to get your daily dose of vitamin B.

Sweet potato

Beta-carotene and B6 are found in sweet potatoes. These two components are responsible for your mind and B6 works as a mood enhancer. B6 is used to treat those with mood disorders.

Greek yogurt

Greek yogurt is easily available in India. The emergence, awareness and demand for Greek yogurt has gone up in the last one year. Greek yogurt is rich in proteins and is great as a probiotic. Opt for full fat Greek yogurt as the fats present in the curds act as brain boosters.

Grass fed beef

Organic is a word that is used often to promote good health. It is also said that consuming grass fed meat is healthier than factory bred cattle. When the cattle are grass fed, the fats are healthy and improve the mind. Experts believe that cattle that are bred naturally are healthier.

Blue potato

Lastly, this ingredient seems mythical but it is true. Blue potatoes do exist so do purple cauliflower and carrot. If you find blue potatoes you will be happy. You’ll be happy not because you found it, but blue potatoes contain antioxidant called anthocyanins that prevents inflammation of the brain. This property relieves you of stress and depression. Before we forget, it also improves your memory.

Read more Personal Health, Diet & Fitness stories on www.healthmeup.com

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Thank you for the link.

jovinacooksitalian

February 2, 2013

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