Tag Archive | food and mood

Gungo peas

Leicester is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the UK and food shopping is an obvious example which illustrates our multi-cultural living. I particularly like going to the shops in certain parts of the city where you can buy food imported from around the world.

Sunday is a good day for mooching around and yesterday afternoon we made a quick detour to a Continental shop for some bits and pieces. Whilst hubby was searching for particular items, I was rustling around just looking at the various dried beans, peas and pulses which are a staple part of the Middle Eastern diet when I came across a packet of Gungo peas.

What a fabulous name, Gungo peas and, as I haven’t a clue what to do with said Gungo (or pigeon) peas, I left them on the shelf not wanting to buy something just because I like the name. I am now wishing that I had put a packet in my basket as not only were they cheap (99p for 500g) but having done some research I find out that they are nutritionally full of protein, fibre, low in fat and most importantly they are an excellent source of tryptophan.

For anyone suffering with low mood or depression, foods containing tryptophan are well worth getting to know as “tryptophan is the direct precursor, or starting material, of serotonin. Your tryptophan intake affects the amount of active serotonin your brain makes. Serotonin levels affect your mood, your ability to sleep well, and your food cravings.

Tryptophan is prescribed as an antidepressant, and is apparently particularly effective in relieving certain types of depression (bi-polar and menopausal). Turkey and milk are good sources of tryptophan as are eggs, dairy products, some nuts and seeds. 

As with many suggestions for foods that apparently help with low mood and depression, I suspect that it is more complicated that just eating platefuls of Gungo peas but with a little effort and a few dietary adjustments, food can undoubtedly help improve and maintain mental wellbeing just as it helps physical health.

There are several recipes for using Gungo peas available, so next time I am shopping and come across Gungo peas I will buy some and ask hubby to prepare a dish or two to see what they are like.

Watch this space…..


Food and mood-Baked Arabian Trout

According to MIND the mental health charity, food and mood are intrinsically linked and low levels of vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids can affect mental health, with some symptoms associated with particular nutritional deficiencies.

For example, links have been demonstrated between low levels of certain B-vitamins and symptoms of schizophrenia, low levels of the mineral zinc and eating disorders, and low levels of omega-3 oils and depression.

When people talk about Omega -3 oils it is usually mackerel and salmon that hog the limelight but another fish that is full of Omega-3, easy to obtain and economical is the trout.

Here is one of my favourite recipes, Baked Arabian Trout courtesy of Weight Watchers;

To serve 2 you will need:

2 trout fillets
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
a pinch of cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tablespoons low-fat plain yoghurt
juice of 2 limes
2 teaspoons olive oil

1. Place the trout in a shallow, ovenproof dish

2. In a non-stick frying pan, dry-fry the cumin, coriander and pinch of cayenne over a low heat for 1 minute. Stir frequently. Allow to cool

3. Mix the spices with the herbs, garlic, yoghurt, lime juice and olive oil. season with a little salt and then spread over the trout.

4. Cover and leave to marinate for 30 minutes. preheat the oven to Gas mark 4/180 C/350F.

5. brush the fish with marinade again; cover with foil, transfer to the oven and bake for 25 minutes.

6. Serve the cooked fish with its cooking juices spooned over.