Brain Support: Four Foods that Benefit Mood

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We can support a positive outlook or help relieve depressive symptoms by eating foods and spices that enhance mood, such as lentils, chicken, curry, and ginger.

By combining these foods in one dish, we can quadruple our mood boost and treat our body to an array of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.

Good Mood Food

Lentils are a complex carbohydrate, so they boost the brain’s manufacture of the good-mood neurotransmitter serotonin. They are also rich in folate and iron. A deficiency in folate has been associated with both depression and mania, and a lack of iron leads to low energy and fatigue.

Chicken broth is swimming with the amino acid tryptophan, something the body requires to create serotonin and melatonin (melatonin is necessary for good sleep). Chicken also has tyrosine, an amino acid needed for the production of adrenaline. Tyrosine supports an elevated mood and helps lift a low one.

Ginger is used by some herbalists and holistic medical practitioners to relieve depression since it contains magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium. Research evidence for ginger’s effectiveness against depressive symptoms is minimal, but scientists have found a correlation between low magnesium and depression.

Curry contains turmeric which is the source of a chemical called curcumin. Curcumin enhances neurogenesis or the birth of new brain cells. It increases two mood lifting neurotransmitters, serotonin and dopamine, and it reduces tissue inflammation in the body (research has linked chronic inflammation and depression). When you eat curcumin and black pepper together, the body’s absorption of curcumin is enhanced by 2,000 percent.

Gingery Lentil Soup

Good ... soup can do more to lift the spirits and stimulate the appetite than any other one dish. ~ Louis P. De Gouy

You Will Need

    2 tsp olive oil
    3 medium carrots, chopped
    1 medium onion, chopped
    2 tsp grated peeled fresh ginger
    1 tsp minced garlic
    1 1/2 tsp curry powder
    1/4 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
    2 (14 oz) cans fat-free, low sodium chicken broth, plus enough water to equal 4 cups
    1 cup brown lentils, rinsed and drained
    1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained

Preparation

  1. In a large saucepan, heat oil (use medium heat). Add onion and carrot; cover and cook about 3 minutes (until soft). 
Stir in ginger and garlic; cook one minute. 
Add in curry, salt, and pepper; cook for 30 seconds.
  2. Stir in broth/water and the lentils; bring to a boil. 
Lower heat and simmer covered for 20 to 25 minutes (lentils should be tender).
 Stir in tomatoes; cover and simmer for 5 minutes.

Note: January is National Soup Month.

Sources: Health (recipe); The Farmacy; Livestrong; netdoctor

 
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