While the Philippines is known for its sugary and fried delights, there is potential to develop a market for mood-boosting foods, which share similarities with superfoods.
Superfoods are packed with essential nutrients, making them exceptionally healthy due to their rich vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other beneficial components.
Many superfoods also fall into the category of mood-boosting foods because they contain nutrients that support brain health and overall well-being. While superfoods are considered mood-boosting on their own, not all mood-boosting foods are superfoods as these can encompass a broader range of items that positively influence mood without necessarily meeting the specific criteria for a superfood label.
Feel-good foods, also known as mood-boosting foods are nutrient-dense options that positively impact our mental health. Consider choosing mood-boosting foods as a natural antidote for our well-being. These foods are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids, which play a crucial role in supporting brain health and regulating mood. Incorporating them into our diet can help combat stress, anxiety, and even depression.
To make your mood-boosting meal plan, incorporate ingredients below:
Omega-3 fatty acids: Found in fatty fish like salmon, walnuts, and flaxseeds. These healthy fats are vital for brain health. For plant-based eaters, blend walnuts with your choice of plant-based meat to come up with a meat-like texture.
Antioxidant-rich berries: Blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries are packed with antioxidants that combat oxidative stress, benefiting both the body and mind. A more economical alternative would be to check for local berries that we have that are abundantly available. Examples include aratiles and bignay, to name a few.
Leafy greens: Spinach, kale, and Swiss chard are rich in folate, a B-vitamin linked to mood regulation. Locally, Chinese spinach or also known as kulitis is economically accessible and available at our wet markets.
Avocado: Full of healthy fats, potassium, and vitamin E, avocados are excellent for brain function and emotional well-being. Perfect as a side, or on its own as a smoothie.
Nuts and seeds: Almonds, chia seeds, and pumpkin seeds provide essential nutrients and healthy fats vital for mental clarity. Make your own trail mix or buy and have it as a snack.
Whole grains: Quinoa, brown rice, and oats stabilize blood sugar levels, preventing mood swings and promoting a balanced mood. This is a healthier alternative to white rice for sure, and you can diversify preparation of this, such as making oats caldo or oats champorado, or making quinoa paella or risotto.
Here's an easy recipe you can make in five minutes:
Mood-Boosting Salmon and Quinoa Bowl
2 salmon fillets
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 ripe avocado, sliced
2 cups fresh spinach leaves
1 lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Fresh herbs (parsley or dill) for garnish
1. Cook quinoa in vegetable or chicken broth according to package instructions. Fluff with a fork once done.
2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Drizzle salmon fillets with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Bake for 12-15 minutes until cooked through.
3. In serving bowls, layer cooked quinoa, fresh spinach, and baked salmon. Top with sliced avocado.
4. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil, squeeze fresh lemon juice, and garnish with fresh herbs.
This flavorful and nutritious dish incorporates mood-boosting ingredients like salmon (rich in omega-3s), quinoa (a source1 of protein and fiber), spinach (high in folate), and avocado (healthy fats). Your body and soul would thank you for this!
Choosing mood-boosting foods becomes a lifestyle on its own – and such lifestyle centered around this is a journey towards holistic well-being. Education then becomes the cornerstone, enlightening us about the mental health benefits of these nutrient-rich choices.
The way we prepare our meals inevitably transforms into a mindful practice. By planning our meals and incorporating mood-enhancing ingredients, we gain control over the nutritional value of our food, which then allows us to be in control of our body, rather than the other way around. Moderation becomes key; while occasional indulgence is allowed, it's essential to strike a balance.
In effect, because our meal planning becomes a mindful practice, our exploration leads us to healthier alternatives: baked sweet potato fries replace their deep-fried counterparts, and natural fruit smoothies become preferred over sugary beverages.
Mindful eating deepens our connection with food and by savoring each bite and appreciating textures and flavors, we foster a healthier relationship with what we consume.
In essence, adopting a diet rich in feel-good foods transcends mere culinary choices; it becomes a lifestyle decision that nurtures both body and mind. This journey, marked by understanding, experimentation, and sustainable practices, guides us toward a healthier, happier, and more vibrant way of life. Our body could not thank us enough.
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