Got the Blues?  You Are What You Eat

Food has the amazing ability to enhance your moods. Certain foods can excite you to help with motivation. Others can provide relaxation when you need it. That’s because many foods contain substances that break down during the digestive process to affect neurotransmitters, the chemicals in

Cold water, salmon is good for your heart and good for your mood.

Salmon for a Good Mood and Heart

the brain’s network that regulate moods. As a result, your emotions and behaviors can change.

A lack of certain nutrients may cause blue moods or even depression. Researchers, for example, have found deficiencies of omega-3 fatty acids in some people with depression and mood swings, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. If you’re feeling down, you might try cold-water fish, such as tuna, salmon, mackerel, sardines or herring, which contain rich amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Walnuts and flaxseeds also have omega-3s.

Deficiencies in folic acid, a B complex vitamin, may lead to depression. A lack of folic acid lowers serotonin levels in the brain and may cause sad feelings. Eating green vegetables and fruit, which contain folic acid, may improve your moods. Low levels of selenium may result in anxiety, depression or irritability. Selenium, an antioxidant that researchers believe also fights certain cancers, can be found in whole grains, legumes, beef, poultry, fish, Brazil nuts and walnuts.

Foods can also be used to help you through your daily routine. Ever wonder why folks throughout the generations have started their morning with meat and eggs for breakfast? It’s because dairy products and meat, along with fish and poultry, are rich in protein. High-protein foods help boost energy, but protein also breaks down into amino acids to improve mental alertness. Tyrosine, an amino acid from protein, travels from the bloodstream to the brain where it helps increase levels of neurotransmitters, including dopamine and epinephrine, which lift moods to improve your

Roast turkey is an excellent source of the relaxant, tryptophan.

Turkey - A Great Midnight Snack

concentration.

Carbohydrate-rich foods, such as whole grain bread and pasta, potatoes, rice and corn, work best for moods during an evening meal or when you want to relax. Carbohydrates help release more tryptophan, an amino acid, into the brain where it converts into serotonin. An increase in serotonin levels provides you with calming effects and even improves your sleeping patterns.   If  you don’t eat carbs, you can get even more relaxing tryptophan from turkey meat.  See another Jerry Shaw article on controlling your moods naturally, this one through exercise.

Hearty Italian tomato meatsauce

Italian Spaghetti with Meatsauce

The dish for kids of all ages.

Ingredients:

1 Lb. ground chuck

1 Lb. mild Italian sausage without casing

1 Medium to large Vidahlia or sweet onion, chopped

1 Medium to large green bell pepper, chopped fine

6 – 8 Large cloves of fresh garlic, minced

1  8 Oz. can of mushrooms, stems and pieces

1  28 Oz. can of  tomato sauce OR tomatoes (undrained)

2 – 12 Oz. cans of tomato paste

1 TBS. Italian seasoning

2 Tsp. garlic salt

3 Bay leaves

1 Tsp. sweet basil

1 1/2  TBS. oregeno

2/3   12oz Tomato paste can of water if you use Tomato sauce instead of canned tomatoes.

The herbs referenced above can be chopped finely and used in greater amounts if fresh instead of dry.  Grandma lives in Florida and has a year around herb garden, so this recipe is the one to use if you don’t have access to garden fresh seasonings.

Use a large dutch oven or pot and begin by browning the chuck, and Italian sausage.  As it cooks, be sure to use a spoon or spatula to break the meat down so it isn’t too chunky in the sauce.  Add  your chopped onion and pepper to the meat mix as it cooks.  After the meats are cooked and your onions and peppers are softened, use a garlic press and press your garlic gloves into the mix.

Add your tomato paste, and tomato sauce with 2/3 tomato paste can of water, OR add your can of tomatoes without adding the extra water.  Stir and mix together, then add the garlic salt, herbs, and mushrooms.  Bring the mixture to a light boil.

Finally, reduce heat to low on the stove and return in fifteen minute intervals to stir to prevent your sauce from sticking to your pot.  Simmer your sauce for at least 30 – 45 minutes while you prepare the balance of your meal,OR simmer your sauce in a crock pot so it is ready when you are.  If using a crock pot, refer to your unit’s directions for cooking times and heat settings.

Grandma serves this hearty meal with her homemade basic salad dressing on a fresh greens and her homemade garlic butter bread.  See sub-sections of recipes for salad dressings, sauces,and  spreads.