Boost Your Mood With Food

 

When life gets tough the tough eat salmon? Ok, that’s not how the saying goes, but if the tough want to keep their spirits high through trials and tribulations they might want to consider such notions.

We all know that maintaining a healthy, balanced diet contributes to a sense of well-being, but did you know that vitamin and mineral deficiencies effect state of mind too? Or that even the act of cooking can reduce stress? It’s true, especially if you love to cook. Follow these three tips to boost your mood with food.

 

Eat beans and spinach. Low levels of folate and other B vitamins has been shown to increase depressed feelings, and these two foods contain copious amounts of it. Other great sources include citrus fruits and juices, whole grains, and meats such as poultry, pork, and shellfish.

Eat Salmon. Salmon contains two mood enhancing nutrients: omega-3 fatty acid and vitamin D. Numerous studies show a correlation between low levels of vitamin D and mood irregularity. Omega 3s assist in brain function and help for a smooth connection of  neurotransmitters.

Love to cook. The act of cooking, especially once you discover the joy of preparing food, can improve your mood. If you’re too busy to plan a meal or go to the grocery store consider joining a cooking club like HelloFresh. This company lets you pick out the meals you like on-line, then they send you a box that includes three recipes and all the ingredients you need to make the meals at home. Also, don’t rush in the kitchen, make the time you are there your “me time”. Turn on your favorite music, pour yourself a glass of wine, and move to the rhythm as you chop-and-saute the day away. 

 

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The 5 Best Seasonal Ingredients in Southern California

Greg Hozinsky is a talented young chef cooking out of Shade Hotel in Manhattan Beach, California. As an up-and-coming chef at the hotel's Zinc Lounge, Chef Hozinsky is praised widely for using seasonal, local ingredients in innovative tapas and small plates. Check out his previous list of  5 Tips Every Aspiring Chef Should Know. Now, as summer approaches, Chef Greg has the lowdown on the 5 best seasonal ingredients in Southern California.  And even if you're not out West, there are some great American staples on his list that will be hitting market stands within a few weeks. 

  1. Avocado: Who doesn't like avocados? California avocados in the summer have a higher oil content giving that wonderful natural butter like flavor to a dish.
  2. Strawberries: I grew up going to my dad's house in Oxnard, California and I remember driving by all the strawberry fields as a child.  You will never have a better strawberry than the ones that grow here.
  3. Heirloom tomatoes:  I love these things, they come in all different varieties and colors but my favorites are the Purple Cherokees and Brandy Wines.  They are deep and rich in color with wonderful sweetness, it will make you want to eat one like an apple.
  4. Spinach: Bloomingdale spinach is one of my favorite greens, and there are a few farms down here that produce it.  It's not your regular spinach, it is a bit hardier.
  5. Broccoli: I have become a huge fan of baby sprouting broccoli this past year. It's so versatile, and tastes great with meat, fish, pasta or just as a great veggie side dish. My favorite way to prepare it is with a little olive oil, chili, garlic and maybe a splash of vinegar.

What are your favorite summer ingredients?

Top 5 Foods For Your Skin

Not many people have enough time to eat right, plan out a skin regiment and have time leftover to catch up on Top Chef. Thankfully, you can accomplish two of the three in one fell swoop. Be sure to stock up on these top 5 foods as they make for great skin boosters: 

* Sweet Potatoes: To combat against those pesky wrinkles, start out by eating more sweet potatoes. Vitamin C helps to stimulate the production of collagen. Papaya and carrots are great as well! Try mixing sweet potatoes into Whole-Wheat Sweet Potato Coconut Muffins or Sweet Potato and Lamb Hash.

* Almonds: Vitamin E is a great antioxidant, which helps to defend yourself against sun damage. Almonds are chock full of them! Easy to grab a handful to eat on the go, almonds are also a good source of magnesium and protein. Nuts also happen to be a great power snack.

* Cooked Tomatoes: Containing a trifecta of goodness, tomatoes have antioxidants, vitamins A and C and lycopene, which help eliminate free-radicals that can cause your skin to age prematurely. Cooking the tomatoes helps to concentrate and keep in all those helpful boosters. For a healthy cooked tomato dish, try this Five-Ingredient Tomato Basil Soup.

* Spinach: Popeye knew what he was getting into when he downed large amounts of spinach. The folate levels in spinach help maintain and repair DNA, which can reduce cancer-cell growth in your skin. It also contains a plethora of other vitamins including vitamin E and vitamin A. Don't worry, there are plenty of delicious recipes that call for spinach so you won't bore of it!

* Canned Tuna: Seemingly out of place in this list, canned tuna is actually a great skin tightener. It contains selenium which helps preserve elastin and allows your skin to maintain its tightness and smoothness. Just be sure to eat it and not use it as a face mask!