Using Food to Beat the Blues: Lemon-Dijon Quinoa & Asparagus Salad

April showers bring May flowers, right? Well, sometimes April showers continue through May and into early June. Although spring is a time of new beginnings, hope, renewal and detoxification, the rainy days can also trigger feelings of sadness and depression.

There is no better way to beat the "rainy-day blues" than through the healing power of nature's own medicine: food. Let's break it down by ingredients, shall we?
 
Asparagus is packed with vitamin B6, which is known to boost serotonin levels. It's also an excellent source of potassium which, when properly balanced with sodium, is a key component in mood stabilization.
 
Tomatoes are a source of lycopene, a fat-soluble phytonutrient that helps protect vital brain fat and has been known to stop the buildup of pro-inflammatory compounds linked to depression.
 
Lemons are loaded with vitamin C, which has been known to ease fatigue, loss of appetite and other effects of depression.
 
Quinoa is a grain-like seed that has small amounts of the right type of high-protein carbohydrates needed to boost your serotonin levels. Plus, it provides additional B vitamins that are critical to brain health and in the manufacturing of all neurotransmitters, including serotonin.
 
Walnuts are essentially mood superfoods. They are filled with Omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamin E, vitamin B6, folate and protein. Consider that combination to be a powerful punch of “happy"!
 
Here's a quick and easy recipe filled with all of these ingredients that are sure to keep the rainy-day blues away!

Lemon-Dijon Quinoa & Asparagus Salad

  • 1 lb. asparagus
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup corn
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cup chopped parsley
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts, for garnish
Quinoa:
  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 2 cups water
Lemon-Dijon Dressing:
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup Dijon mustard
  • 3 T fresh lemon juice
  • 1.5 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Black pepper, to taste
Rinse and drain quinoa. Place quinoa, water and sea salt in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
 
Snap off the tough ends of the asparagus and cut into 1-inch pieces. Place the trimmed asparagus in a large pot of boiling water. Cook for 9-12 minutes or until almost tender. Drain and rinse under cold water.
 
Add dressing ingredients into a bowl. Whisk until they are thoroughly blended.
 
In a large bowl, mix prepared quinoa and asparagus with corn, tomatoes and parsley. Add dressing and stir gently until it is mixed through the salad. Add chopped walnuts as a garnish.

Jennifer is a Certified Holistic Health Coach and owner of Holistic Peace, LLC. She is dedicated to supporting individuals as they find the peace to live healthy and happy lives. To invest in your own health and happiness, contact her at jflanaganhhc@gmail.com or follow her on Facebook.

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