5 herbs and spices that make you happy
Several studies and nutritional publications agree that certain foods have the power to make us happy. The famous omega-3 fatty acids, found in oily fish, nuts and seeds, are notably recommended for lifting the mood. However, certain herbs and spices can also have natural antidepressant properties, bringing mind and body a boost with a variety of different flavors. Here's a closer look at five top blues-busting ingredients from the spice rack:
Frequently used in Indian cuisine, saffron is also a key ingredient in Spanish paella and Italian risotto. It's believed to target problems relating to mood and depression, as well as food-related behavioural issues like snacking but is not recommended for pregnant women or children under six.
Whether in sticks or ground, cinnamon can influence brain function by boosting concentration, memory and attention. It even calms sugar cravings. Two types of cinnamon are available: Ceylon cinnamon, which is finer, and the cheaper and coarser Chinese cinnamon, also known as cassia.
Known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, turmeric also stimulates the release of serotonin, the happy hormone. It's often sprinkled on top of Indian dishes or mixed with coconut milk in Thai fish curries. For something different, try adding it to fruit-based desserts.
As well as bringing a delicious Mediterranean flavour to dishes, rosemary has its own medical virtues. In cases of physical or mental fatigue, burn-out and depression, it can give the body a welcome boost. It notably helps with insomnia and with calming nerves.
Like rosemary, thyme is a good ally in cases of mental fatigue, stress and insomnia. It contains lithium, a mineral with antidepressant properties, and the amino acid tryptophan, used to make serotonin, which is essential for sleep. It also stimulates the mind and calms the nerves. Look for one of the many herbal teas based on blends of rosemary and thyme.
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