Health Highlight: Hummus
First off, what is Hummus? Hummus is a paste or spread made with chickpeas, olive oil and tahini or sesame paste. It has been quite popular in Middle Eastern countries like Greece, Turkey, Syria and Israel since ages. Attributing to its appealing flavor and superb health factor, over the time hummus has found its place amongst the latest food trends and has gained popularity in western countries and all over the globe.
Hummus offers a number of different nutritional, vitamin and mineral benefits. As a healthy fat, hummus makes a perfect dip or alternative to condiments such as ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard or high fat dressings.
Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats can help keep your brain healthy, provide nourishment to your cells and help keep your heart healthy. The fiber from the chickpeas helps you stay full, as well as aids in your digestion.
Hummus helps regulate blood sugar levels and being a complex carbohydrate, does not get digested and hence slows down the release of sugar in the body. This helps in keeping a check on diabetes. The American diabetes association also recommends the use of hummus as a part of diabetes meal plan.
In addition hummus is great for digestive health, healthy muscles and has even been found to work against the growth of various cancer cells due to the presence of various healthy components such as phytic acid and saponins in chickpeas. Chickpeas are high in fiber which helps keep harmful toxins from binding with the colon lining and flushes them from the body reducing the risk of colon cancer and also contains healthful components such as isoflavones and phytoestrogens that aid in reducing the risk of lung cancer.
Every year around 3.5 million people in America are diagnosed as depressed. And half of those people aren’t even married! Jokes apart, certain types of foods have certain properties that can stimulate certain glands and hormones to elevate an individual’s mood. In lite of the month of Valentines and love we thought we’d explore 20 foods that cause happiness and deter depression and negativity.
Depression: Food for happiness
A lot of states in America barely touches the water, making coconut the forgotten fruit. But did you know that coconut is responsible for your mood? The tricky thing is that, as with every other food, moderation or the lack of it influences how much you’ll benefit from this coastal plant.
By consuming limited portions, coconut milk can be a healthy fat that helps re-build tissue and improve body functions. However, if you eat too much, you will invite unhealthy weight gain, especially if your coconut milk intake is not proportionate to your exercise and physical activity levels. Fresh coconut contains certain fats that enhance your mood. By eating coconut shavings, you’re not only boosting your mood but also improving the health of your brain.
From essential omega fats to protein and fiber, there are several reasons why you should consume walnuts and you have several ways to add walnuts to any dish. But today we’re talking about how walnuts improve your mood. There are three properties present in walnuts that make you happy and avoid depression:
Magnesium is responsible for boosting your mood, strengthening your body and cell growth. It is helpful for insulin production.
Polyphenols and antioxidants present in walnuts improve neural connections and the health of the brain that makes you more alert.
Cherry tomatoes are sold in abundance in America. Besides the fact that they ‘look-so-cute’ and make a great ingredient in salads, cherry tomatoes can also ward off depression.
The key component in cherry tomatoes, lycopene, has antioxidants that are responsible for enhancing your mood. The regular tomatoes include this property as well. Be sure to cook the tomatoes just enough to wrinkle the skins, and add a healthy oil like virgin coconut oil, olive oil or canola oil. This
releases the lycopene and makes it usable by the body.
If there’s one thing Popeye taught us, its that Spinach is a versatile vegetable with many health benefits, but did you know that spinach works wonder for your mental health as well?
Besides iron, spinach has folic acid too that makes you feel better. Folic acid improves the health of red blood cells and your immunity, protecting you from diseases that soak out your happiness.
Eggs have multiple health benefits including baking, improving fitness, rich source of proteins, vitamin B, zinc and Omega 3. Eggs are also a great way to start your day; they give you that boost of energy needed for an entire day’s activities, including workouts.
In terms of fighting depression, eggs can prevent hunger and unnecessary food cravings, which in turn help you eat less food. This helps you maintain a healthy weight that is free of unhealthy indulgences, and more importantly – blood sugar spikes from unhealthy snacking. This process itself makes you happier, you eat less, you avoid junk food and you can lose weight.
There are good carbs and there are bad carbs. The good carbs help you fight sadness and depression. This is another reason why you should not fear carbohydrates.
Whole grains, in particular, relieves you from constipation and provides energy; you can’t have a hearty laugh if you’re exhausted. Selenium present in whole grains fights free radicals and boosts immunity. It is an effective tool to ward off diseases; it also relieves you from constipation, which can cause discomfort.
Honey is a sugar substitute and it is organic. Kaempferol and quercetin are two properties present in honey that improve the health of the brain as well as reduce inflammation in the brain. If you dip strawberries in honey, it works as an aphrodisiac and improves your mood. Perfect for a romantic evening!
Yes… Cheese is fattening in large quantities and difficult to digest. Yet you cannot fight the creamy and cheesy flavors of this dairy product. You may be tempted to empty out the cheese can or generously sprinkle cheese over pizza, no doubt it tastes delicious but also make you pile on the pounds.
Therefore, portion control is your best friend when it comes to cheese consumption. But why are we mentioning this here? Because in the right quantity cheese, especially low fat cheese, can make you happy. Zinc is the core property that you need to fight depression. Your body does not produce enough zinc, so cheese is a good source. Zinc helps in cell development, improves the texture of your skin and hair, and builds your cognitive responses.
One of the keys to fighting depression is with folic acid. A low level of folate is linked to depression. People usually rely on pills for folate, but did you know that asparagus has high levels of folate and tryptophan?
Tryptophan produces serotonin in the brain that stabilizes moods. Therefore asparagus is a great vegetable to improve you mood as it contains both, folate and tryptophan.
This Thanksgiving day miracle bird puts you to sleep, but did you know that besides being a good source of protein and nutrition, turkey can also make you happy? Earlier we mentioned that tryptophan present in asparagus fuels happiness and this route is a great way to fight depression. If you’re a hard core carnivore, then turkey is your source of tryptophan. It produces serotonin to balance and improve your mood.
Dark chocolate has many benefits from weight loss to spicing up your sex life. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, chocolate is the most popular gift for most couples. Pour it over fruits or nuts or drink it from a cup, remember the magic of cocoa lies in dark chocolate.
Dark chocolate is an antioxidant that improves blood and prevents premature ageing. Cocoa is a potent source of serotonin, dopamine, and phenylethylamine. Top three well-studied neurotransmitters, they help in keeping depression at bay and are associated with the feel good factor.
Again… Everything in moderation. This one’s good for your day off. Make sure you talk it over with your Genetix counselor first.
Consuming beans without soaking or cooking the right way may cause flatulence in some people, but these are also good sources of proteins for vegetarians. To be more specific, red beans contain antioxidants far richer than berries. Amino acid in proteins and iron helps fight brain disorders. A healthy brain is a happy brain.
Why is salmon such a popular ingredient with nutritionists? Salmon is popularly known as a rich source of Omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 reduces blood pressure, reduces cholesterol and reduces inflammation in the body. The fats present in salmon are good for the nervous system and the brain. Healthy fats from salmon improve the brain and keep it healthy and keep you smiling.
Beetroots contain several nutrients and vitamins that are responsible for fighting depression:
These properties help in enhancing your mood as they work as neurotransmitters.
The next you feel depressed, eat a banana, it provides energy, helps in development of cells, and promotes the health of the nervous system. If you are irritated, angry, stressed or depressed you are low in vitamin B, and bananas are the place to get your daily dose of vitamin B.
Beta-carotene and B6 are found in sweet potatoes. These two components are responsible for your mind and B6 works as a mood enhancer. B6 is used to treat those with mood disorders.
Greek yogurt is easily available in the U.S. The emergence, awareness and demand for Greek yogurt has gone up in the last one year. Greek yogurt is rich in proteins and is great as a probiotic. Opt for full fat Greek yogurt as the fats present in the curds act as brain boosters.
Grass fed beef
Organic is a word that is used often to promote good health. It is also said that consuming grass fed meat is healthier than factory bred cattle. When the cattle are grass fed, the fats are healthy and improve the mind. Experts believe that cattle that are bred naturally are healthier.
Lastly, this ingredient seems mythical but it is true. Blue potatoes do exist so do purple cauliflower and carrot. If you find blue potatoes you will be happy. You’ll be happy not because you found it, but blue potatoes contain antioxidant called anthocyanins that prevents inflammation of the brain. This property relieves you of stress and depression. Before we forget, it also improves your memory.
Yes fresh green peas are among the healthiest foods that contribute to a happier yiu. Peas contain high amounts of folate, a nutrient which helps body to produce serotonin. Make sure you select fresh, frozen peas rather than canned ones as they have a minimal quantity of nutrients left. Peas are very easily included in salads and various other gravies.
We hope you are happy with learning of these happy foods and we also wish you a very happy Valentines Day!