4 Scientifically Proven Recipes That Will Make You Happy
Chock-full of happiness-inducing ingredients, these dishes could be just the thing to help you shake out of a funk.
A Sauce to Make You Smile
Kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir and yogurt are some of the most trendy foods right now. An added bonus: The probiotics in these fermented foods could have a positive effect on physical issues such as indigestion
—and may benefit your emotional outlook, as well. A small Dutch study
found that people who took a probiotic supplement for four weeks showed a significantly reduced "reactivity to sad mood" and fewer aggressive thoughts. This dipping sauce is a delicious way to incorporate two of these happy foods—yogurt and kimchi—into your diet. It’s great with the shrimp dumplings in this recipe.
Get the recipe: Lemony Shrimp Dumplings with Kimchi-Yogurt Dipping Sauce
The Totally Legal Way to Cheer Up
The produce section of your supermarket is probably the last place you'd try to find mood-altering mushrooms. But fungi—to clarify, we're talking about regular, nonmagical mushrooms
here—can be a good source of vitamin D
, which may aid in stimulating serotonin production. Look for a label reading that the mushrooms contain vitamin D
—growers use UV light to increase the Vitamin D content but not all mushrooms are exposed to it. Sauté some with garlic, butter and sherry and you've got a rich and feel-good accompaniment to salad, crostini or meat.
Get the recipe: Garlic Sherry Mushrooms
The Mood-Enhancing Green Side
Dark, leafy vegetables are some of the healthiest foods you can eat
, and here's one more reason to load up on them: Many are off-the-charts in folate
, a B vitamin that, when deficient, has been linked to depression. Researchers have found that upping the folate levels of depressed patients may assist in reducing symptoms of depression
. This warm spinach-salad recipe is a keeper; it's easy to make, doesn't require many ingredients and gets an unexpected crunch from toasted panko and sesame seeds.
Get the recipe: Wilted Spinach with Golden Sesame-Garlic Crumbs
The Better-Than-Pasta Carb
We often crave starchy foods when we're feeling "blah," and it turns out that there's a legitimate reason why. Carbohydrates can boost levels of serotonin, which helps regulate mood. While a bowl of white pasta may put an immediate smile on your face, it'll also lead to a quick spike, then a quick drop, in your blood sugar, leaving you low-energy and hungry. Complex carbs, such as lentils, on the other hand, take longer to digest, so you avoid the blood-sugar roller coaster and get sustained energy. Try this bright and filling soup, which combines red lentils with Swiss chard, chickpeas and curry powder.
Get the recipe: Curried Red Lentil and Swiss Chard Soup