Foods That Make You Happy
The car horns blew on cue. The kazoos chimed in, and the shouts and claps for Billy and Jessica followed. It was a drive-by salute for the couple who were celebrating their 30th anniversary. The pandemic forced them to cancel their plans for an inhouse party, so their children organized the surprise event, and indeed they were. They walked out the front door to their friends’ applause and congratulations, clearly astonished. And so was everyone gathered; both Billy and Jessica looked terrific. Since the prolonged isolation, many had turned to food as a comfort source, and the effect of emotional eating showed. Not on these two, though, both appeared to be the picture of health.
“Congratulations, you two beautiful people,” called Annie. “You have got to share your secret of how you stay so healthy.”
Billy laughed, “I give full credit to my wife. At the beginning of the pandemic, I was down in the dumps and started eating junk and processed food, which just made me hangry and heavy. As we know, emotional eating is not good for one’s mental health. She could see the direction I was going in and decided we would use the time to clean up our food habits. Now we start the day with a smoothie of yogurt, blueberries, strawberries, chia seeds, and spinach leaves.”
“That’s good,” nodded LJ. “The probiotics in yogurt improves the immune system and brain health. The berries are a source of vitamin C, which is an energizing mood booster. The magnesium in the chia seeds enhances serotonin levels in the gut, increasing satisfaction, healthy digestion, and sleep. And the spinach is a source of Vitamin B that also helps make serotonin.”
“I cook eggs a couple of days a week,” said Jessica, “because they contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are mood-promoting, and whole-grain toast as it helps increase the amount of good gut bacteria that influence temperament too. Plus, the protein keeps you full longer.”
Annie agreed, “Since the brain and gut function based on the food, we eat that means a happy gut equals a healthy brain. I recently learned that Halibut affects serotonin levels due to its high amount of protein. We usually eat it with a beet and kale salad. Beets contain betaine, another serotonin booster, and folic acid, known to help stabilize mood.”
“What about the resveratrol in a glass of red wine,” asked LJ. “I read that it is good for your heart, and it has an antidepressant effect.”
“Yes,” answered Annie, the resveratrol studies are ongoing and show great potential. So does chamomile tea because it contains apigenin, an antioxidant that decreases anxiety.”
“If it is true that we are what we eat and drink, I’ll stick with a good red wine such as Brown Estate Chaos Theory, which, for me, has far more appeal than chamomile tea,” said LJ as he handed a gift bag to a laughing Billy and Jessica.
Annie and LJ are a fictional couple introduced to the readers of the Healthy Healing Eats blog in January 2020. Their storyline promotes healthy eating and earth-friendly practices.
Andrea Breaux is the Founder of Healthy Healing Eats. She writes about food-as-medicine and earth-friendly lifestyle practices. Find her weekly blog, recipes, and products at healthyhealingeats.com.