Today I want to share some practical ways that you can incorporate culinary herbs into your meals which have the proven benefits to fight depression and boost your mood!

If you’re feeling like the fall and winter months are especially hard for you, you’re not alone. To be honest, one of the main reasons why I started studying nutrition over 15 years ago was because of my own struggle with depression. Through my research I found natural ways to boost my mood and ward off depression with food, herbs, and lifestyle changes.

Did you know that 1 in 5 Canadians struggles with depression?

There are many different underlying causes of depression – from a nutrition perspective, it includes undiagnosed food sensitivities and poor gut health, nutrient deficiencies, like magnesium and omega 3 fatty acids, overburdened liver (from toxins and food), blood sugar dysregulation, and hormonal imbalances. Without addressing the causative factors to depression, it’s very hard to ge t well and stay well with just medication and therapy alone.

The amazing thing is, we can support our mood through whole foods and culinary herbs! Which is what I want to share with you today!

Here are some amazing herbs to add to your diet to support your mood:

Oregano is herb contains caffeic acid, quercetin and rosmarinic acid, which are all compounds known to combat depression, fatigue and anxiety. Plus, like most herbs, oregano is super easy to grow,whether in a spot in your yard or a pot on your windowsill. Use oregano in sauces, dressings, marinades, soups, stews and salads.

Turmeric The active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, has been found to reduce oxidative damage and prevent inflammation in the brain. Inflammation plays a key role in the development of illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, depression, eczema, arthritis, psoriasis and dementia. In studies, curcumin has been shown to be as effective as over-the-counter anti-inflammatory agents, such as ibuprofen. Try a Golden milk to boost your mood!

Nutmeg has been shown to be useful in alleviate depression, as shown in this study. Nutmeg has been used for its anti-anxiogenic (anti-anxiety) properties as well.  Since nutmeg also has anti-inflammatory properties, it may help reduce depressive symptoms associated with inflammation. Try a healthy recipe with pumpkin spice, which includes nutmeg!

Cinnamon is well know for it’s blood sugar regulating abilities, which makes it a great spice for supporting steady glucose levels and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety that are related to hypoglycemia. Add a tsp to your smoothies!

Cayenne Pepper contains capsaicin, substance found in chili peppers, which has been shown to reduce depressive symptoms, according to research published in Physiology & Behavior. You can find cayenne pepper in many spice blends, such as cajun and fajita seasonings.

Rosemary is a beautifully fragrant herb that can help with anxiety, fear and depression-like behavior due to it’s beneficial compounds such as rosmarinic acid. Rosemary has also been used to treat those suffering from an overtaxed nervous system, burnout, and insomnia.

Saffron has been used to support a healthy mood for decades due to it’s calming and anti-inflammatory effects, as studies show. It has been shown to support balanced levels of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin, which are neurotransmitters responsible for a healthy stable mood and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Hope you find many ways to incorporate these beautiful herbs and spices into your meals. If you need help with nutritionally balanced, simple, and delicious recipes and meal plans, make sure to check out our Nutrition Plan Program – which includes mood boosting recipes and lifestyle strategies for healthy hormones, energy & weight!