For the health of it

Even though the winter months can be cold and depressing, happiness can be found in delicious, healthy food.

If cold weather and lack of sunshine are dragging your spirits down, don’t give up quite yet. Although eating specific food won’t clear the Valley of inversion, it will help boost your mood during these gloomy months. A lack of essential vitamins and minerals may put you at a higher risk of depression, so try these six nutritional foods that make you feel as good as they taste.

While greasy fat goes straight to our hips, the healthy fats, known as omega-3s, go straight to our brain cells and improve our mood. Salmon is a natural source of omega-3 fatty acids, and because fat is satisfying, it also curbs hunger for hours.

A hearty bowl of chicken soup is the ultimate comfort food for a reason. Loading your soup with vegetables will add to the already nutritious broth to create a bowl full of comfort, which will not only warm your body but your soul as well.

Swiss chard is not as popular as spinach and iceberg lettuce, but it should be a staple in our diet. This dark-green leafy vegetable is packed with magnesium, which is believed to help people handle stress. Magnesium may also aid better sleep and helps to curb symptoms of PMS.

A handful of cherries before bed can make all the difference the following day. Along with their high levels of antioxidants, cherries stimulate melatonin, a compound that improves the quality of sleep. Incorporating cherries into your diet may help you to wake up on the right side the bed every morning.

A diet low in iron is a diet that may be low in happiness. Iron is a mineral that carries oxygen through the blood to generate mental awareness and energy. Many people, especially women, are iron deficient, but an easy way to fix this is to add red meat to your diet. Lean beef is an excellent and delicious source of iron.

The next food will most likely be your favorite on this list: dark chocolate. Not only is dark chocolate yummy, it’s good for your brain. It contains phenylethylamine, the same chemical your brain produces when you’re falling in love, and it encourages your brain to release endorphins.

So the next time you find yourself feeling blue, remember there are easy and fun ways to boost your mood. Add these tasty foods to your diet and you’ll be smiling in no time.

salmonRoasted Salmon with Avocado and Grapefruit Salsa

3/4 pound wild salmon fillet, 1 1/2 inches thick

Olive oil

Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Chili powder

1 large grapefruit

1 small avocado, pitted, peeled and cubed

1/2 large jalapeno, seeded and minced

3 tablespoons minced red onion

2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the fish in a small baking pan and brush both sides with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and chili powder. Place in the oven and roast for about 18 minutes.

Cut off the peel and the white pith from around the grapefruit. Cut between the membranes to release the grapefruit segments into a bowl. Squeeze the juice from the membranes into the bowl. Remove the grapefruit segments from the bowl and cut crosswise into ½ inch pieces. Return to the bowl. Gently mix in the avocado, jalapeno, onion, cilantro and lime juice. Season the salsa to taste with salt and pepper.

Cut the fish in half and divide between two plates. Spoon the salsa over the top and serve right away. Serves two.

Melissa Lindsey is a senior at Utah Valley University studying communication with an emphasis in journalism. Contact her at [email protected]

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