Recipes That Can Help With Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a seasonal condition in which sufferers experience depression, anxiety and tiredness as Autumn and Winter draw in. It affects around 6% of the population, but 14% of people have reported ‘Winter Blues’, which is a less extreme version of the condition.

The food we eat has an enormous impact on the way we feel. There are certain nutrients that are known to improve moods. The following recipes will see you through a day when you might be feeling a little low. They are all healthy, delicious and full of those important things that might help give you the boost you might need.

Breakfast

Banana Almond Flax Smoothie (via NY Times)

It’s important to get your day off to a good start, and what better way than with something that’s good for you and full of anti-stress nutrients. The banana offers slow release energy and potassium to get you through the day, and the flaxseeds are full of vitamin E, valuable minerals and Omega-3, which is thought to help fight depression.

Ingredients

1 medium or large banana, preferably frozen, sliced

2/3 cup buttermilk, yogurt or almond milk

1 tablespoon roasted unsalted almond butter

1 tablespoon toasted ground flaxseeds

1 teaspoon honey or agave nectar

A couple of drops of almond extract or vanilla

Method

Place all of the ingredients in a blender, along with a few ice cubes if the bananas have not been previously frozen. Blend until smooth.

Lunch

Healthy Bean Soup With Kale (via Food.com)

Beans are a wonderful source of Folic Acid. Low levels of folic acid are often found in those suffering from depression, and studies have found a significant difference in mood after eating foods rich in the vitamin. Kale is also a source of Folic Acid, which makes this soup an even more beneficial option if you’re hoping to increase your intake. Not to mention that there’s little more therapeutic than a steaming bowl of soup on a cold day.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil

8 garlic cloves, minced

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

4 cups raw kale, chopped (be sure to remove the spiny sections, there won’t be many, but those that remain will be tough)

4 cups chicken broth or 4 cups vegetable broth, divided

2 (15 ounce) cans cannellini beans or 2 (15 ounce) cans navy beans, undrained, split

2 (15 ounce) carrots, undrained

1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes

2 teaspoons Italian herb seasoning

salt and pepper

1 cup chopped parsley

shredded parmesan cheese

Method

In a large pot, heat olive oil.

Add garlic and onion; saute until soft and the onion is transparent.

Wash the kale, leaving small droplets of water. Saute, stirring, until wilted and a lovely emerald green, about 15 minutes.

Add 3 cups of the broth, reserving 1 cup, 2 cups of the beans, reserving 1 cup, all of the carrots, tomatoes, herbs, salt and pepper.

Simmer 5 minutes.

In a blender or food processor, mix the reserved beans and broth until smooth.

Stir into the soup to thicken it nicely.

Simmer 15 more minutes.

Ladle into bowls; sprinkle with chopped parsley and shredded parmesan.

Serve with a nice loaf of crusty bread to soak up all the yummy broth!

For Vegetarian use the vegetable broth.

Dinner

Turkey and sweet potato curry (via Wholefoods Market)

This is a healthy, filling curry that will give you a helpful mood boost with your meal. Turkey contains tryptophan, which increases the serotonin levels in the brain. It’s vital for being able to sleep and regulate mood. The sweet potatoes boast vitamin B6, which is a mood stabilizer, plus the turmeric in curry powder is a well known to contain curcumin, which will also help with depression. When you consider that spicy food also helps you curb sugar cravings, it seems that there’s nothing this curry can’t do.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons finely chopped ginger

2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic

2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes

2 tomatoes , chopped

2 tablespoons curry powder

2 tablespoons garam masala

1 cup nonfat yogurt

1/2 bunch cilantro , chopped

1 pound chopped cooked turkey

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 small yellow onion, chopped

1 pound chopped cooked sweet potatoes

3 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons half-and-half (optional)

Method

Put ginger, garlic, pepper flakes, tomatoes, curry powder, garam masala, yogurt and cilantro into a deep bowl and stir to combine. Add turkey, toss well, cover and refrigerate overnight. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook until translucent. Stir in turkey and marinade, sweet potatoes, sugar and half-and-half and cook until heated through. Transfer to a large bowl and serve.

Dessert

Chocolate chia seed pudding (via PB Fingers)

For many people, comfort food equals something sweet. But often, dessert isn’t as good for us as we would hope. Luckily, there’s a way to end your meal with a treat that’s delicious and still good for you in every way. This dessert has the dark chocolate that is a mood regulator, and is made using chia seeds. Chia seeds are a great source of Omega-3, and are also full of nutrients, fibre and vitamins. This recipe is perfect after dinner, but can also be eaten for breakfast or as a snack.

Ingredients

1/4 cup of chia seeds

3/4 cup of almond milk

1 tbsp. cocoa powder

Small spoonful of sugar (1–2 tsp.)

Method

Combine all the ingredients well and refrigerate for at least 3–5 hours.

All of these recipes were chosen for a two reasons. We needed them to be simple to make, and we needed them to be good for you.

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