Improve Your Mood with Seafood

Improve Your Mood with Seafood

What if there was a way to improve your mood and reduce symptoms of depression with food?

 Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million adults or 18.1% of the entire population every year. 

 Many of us look for alternative ways to treat the root of what’s ailing us. We know that food is medicine – that plant-based diets help our hearts, and turmeric helps our joints… but what about our mental health? 


Let’s talk about Omega-3 fatty acids:

Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties but also positively affect dopamine and serotonin levels in the brain, which are essential to regulating mood. Studies show that those who suffer from mood disorders and symptoms of depression may not have enough omega-3 eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) or docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). The Harvard Health Blog sites over 30 clinical trials testing omega-3 preparations in people with depression. The studies reveal that omega-3 fatty acids are promising natural treatments for mood disorders. 


Your brain needs nutrients from food:

Your brain needs omega-3 fatty acids for proper functioning. However, our bodies do not naturally produce omega-3s, and we must add them to our diet. Additionally, many people who do not consume nearly enough omega-3 fatty acids instead look to supplement their daily vitamin intake with omega-3 capsules.

Instead of another daily supplement, add fun, new, delicious dishes to your weekly rotation!

  • Day Boat Sea Scallops and Side-Stripe Shrimp are great, low-caloric sources of lean protein. 
  • A standard serving size for each would be about 3 oz, consumed three times a week. 

Important Nutrients:

  • Scallops contain 333mg omegas, 50.4mg magnesium, zinc, and B12. 
  • Shrimp contain 267mg omegas, 33.2mg magnesium, zinc, and iron. 

Both zinc and magnesium are essential trace elements for anti-inflammation and brain function. Vitamin B12 may benefit your body in impressive ways, such as by boosting energy, improving memory, and helping to prevent heart disease.

  • A staple, year-round freezer substitute for consuming omega-3 fatty acids would be salmon, especially if you are sensitive to shellfish.

Cooking and Pairing Seafood Tips

Shellfish pairs nicely with fresh, bright flavors like English peas, celery, spring onions, lemon, and fresh herbs. Simplicity is key – you want your shellfish to shine. 


Perfecting Scallops:

For scallops, it's crucial to pat them dry and lay them out, so they are not touching. Salting them lightly on both sides and letting them hang out while you prep other ingredients will help draw out any moisture and give them that golden, crusty sear you’re looking for. 

Make sure you give scallops enough room when searing them. Use a large, heavy-bottomed pan and evenly spread heat or cook them in batches. Scallops will be ready to flip when cooked about halfway up and their slightly transparent flesh turns white.

I like to sear scallops in healthy cooking oil, such as olive oil, with a touch of butter; it makes the sear and enhances the flavor of the scallops. 

Scallops can be served on their own with a puree and herb oil or pesto, or you can serve them with rice or couscous, perhaps a risotto!


Endless Ways to Enjoy Shrimp:

Shrimp should also have a nice sear. A high heat sauté seals in moisture and gives them beautiful color and texture. Depending on your preference, you can shell them or cook them with the shell on. Cooking with the shell on adds more flavor to broths and simmered dishes. 

Another key to mastering shrimp is the proper thawing process. The best way to defrost frozen shrimp is to put them in the refrigerator overnight or in a colander, running COLD water over them for 5-10 minutes. This will help you avoid rubbery shrimp. Never use the defrost setting on your microwave!

When you are working with whole, wild-caught shrimp, you want to make sure you devein them and remove the digestive tract on the outside by carefully running a paring knife down the back of the shrimp.

Shrimp are very versatile, and there are a million ways to use them. Shrimp is excellent in seafood pasta, risotto, stir-fries, and hot or cold salads. 

I love making fresh Vietnamese summer rolls or dicing them up and using them as a filling for dumplings. I use local, in-season vegetables in my cooking because they taste sweeter after having just been picked, and it is an excellent way to support our local economy. 

Imagine shrimp on a bed of sauteed leeks, garlic, and peas – accompanied by homemade potato gnocchi! 

Shop Local!

Having a trusted local seafood supplier such as Pacific Cloud Seafoods makes obtaining a variety of in-season, wild-caught seafood a part of your weekly routine simple. You can find Pacific Cloud Seafoods at various farmer’s markets, and in our kitchen at 27 chandler street in the Buffalo community. You can also meet your local farmers and shop in season for your vegetables and other parts of your weekly meals!

Meet our Nutrition Blogger and Expert:

Galen Treger is an impassioned cook and Integrative Health Counselor who provides a holistic approach to physical and emotional wellness. Health begins with treating the whole person, not the disease or diagnosis. She teaches clients how to listen to their bodies to identify triggers while focusing on their goals. Galen provides treatment plans, food lists, and recipes to teach clients how to heal themselves and be a part of the way food and eating is viewed. 




Blog Resources

Facts and Statistics, Anxiety & Depression Association of America
Link between food and mental health, American Psychological Association

Omega-3 fatty acids for mood disorders, Harvard Health Blog

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