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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Surprising mood-boosting benefits of sushi.

Sushi can make you smile!
Is sushi one of your comfort foods? Some folks crave sushi when they’re stressed, anxious, or just down right down in the dumps. These cravings may be your body’s way of ordering up some major mood boosting benefits that are rolled up into these little treats. Here are some of the reasons you might find a little sunshine dipped in (low sodium) soy sauce:
  1. Let’s start with the obvious, fish. Fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown in a number of studies to have mood boosting benefits. According to one article, consuming a diet rich in omega-3’s has been shown to reduce the symptoms of depression. Biochemical researchers think this may have something to do with the way omega-3’s can impact your cells’ ability to absorb serotonin, a neurotransmitter that affects your mood. Fish like salmon and tuna, which are especially popular in the sushi world, are also great sources of omega-3’s.
  2. What else is in that wrap to make you so happy? Avocado slices are often added to sushi rolls and provide a big nutrition and mood boost! Avocados are high in heart healthy fats but one of the interesting things about avocados is that they are great sources of folate (or folic acid). In a review of research about folic acid and mood, researchers found that adequate folic acid intake may be an important player in the prevention of depression.
  3. It’s a wrap! When you order sushi and it comes rolled up in a nice little green package, think happy thoughts! Nori, which is a form of seaweed that is commonly used to wrap up sushi rolls, contains lots of vitamin C. A study of hospitalized patients found that receiving extra vitamin C improved their mood and outlook. If vitamin C can do this for those who are in the hospital, where it can be a challenge to have a cheery outlook, it makes me wonder what vitamin C can do for the rest of us?
  4. Top it off with sesame seeds. Ok, so maybe you’re going sans seaweed, in which case, sushi rice is often rolled in sesame seeds. Sesame seeds are loaded with manganese, which is an often overlooked mineral. According to one source, manganese is being recognized in it’s ability to help treat premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and may be able to improve the mood swings, depression, crying, tension, and anxiety that plague many women.
Ready to break out those chopsticks? Well, here’s one more fact about sushi that will make you smile: it’s often fairly low in calories, which will help you slide right into your skinny jeans. Just remember to go low-sodium on the soy sauce and you won’t be singing the sushi blues!