Cooking to Heal – University Times

Crush your depression and anxiety

When Bridget Jones got dumped, she indulged in chocolates and ice cream and, between sobs, drank all the red wine she could because that’s what we humans do when we are sad. Sure, she’s a character in the 2001 romantic comedy, “Bridget Jones’s Diary,” but she mirrors our (very real) instinct to indulge when we’re feeling down. We feed our hungry stomachs, trying to fill our empty hearts.

The thing is, food can actually help your feelings if you choose the right foods and don’t overdo it.

You see, there is a science behind food cravings. If understood correctly, it will absolutely improve your mood, improve your concentration and relieve your stress. Does this sound like the cure you were looking for? All you have to do is sit down and eat it.

Depression and anxiety can have a serious impact on your academic and social life as a student.

Depression is a mood disorder characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, lack of motivation, and loss of interest, while anxiety is a mental disorder that causes ongoing feelings of distress and worry that interfere with daily activities.

Up to 44% of students reported having symptoms of depression and anxiety,” according Mayo Clinic Health Services.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to heal your sanity in your own kitchen. Food plays a vital role in maintaining your body; eating habits even affect brain health as they can cause inflammation in the body.

“Chronic persistent inflammation…can lead to problems with depression and anxiety,” wrote Drew Ramsey, MD, in “Eat to Beat Depression and Anxiety.” “The remedy is to eat more foods with anti-inflammatory properties. These foods include fish, which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids (also found in olive oil); bananas, sweet potatoes and butternut squash, which are high in potassium; nuts, which are rich in magnesium; and dark chocolate, which has extremely high antioxidant properties.

Sometimes a quick and easy comfort food like Bridget’s chocolates and ice cream poses a temptation you just can’t say no to, especially if you’re distressed or just plain unmotivated. But self-soothing doesn’t have to have negative consequences.

Here’s a healthy recipe that will not only tickle your sweet tooth, but also give you the emotional satisfaction you truly crave.

Butternut squash is not only a versatile and delicious legume, but also an ingredient full of nutritional benefits. Rich in vitamin E and beta-carotene, butternut squash may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease and lung cancer, according to PubMed Center, a National Institute of Health database. Plus, the anti-inflammatory antioxidants that lift your spirits and reduce mental distress are present in this tender squash.

Although butternut squash is very easy to roast in half, you can also chop it up and add it to stews, stir it into soups, substitute it for potatoes (fried or mashed) and even add it to treats like pie instead of pumpkin. .

If you have extra butternut squash left over from this recipe, you can make a quick soup by blending it in a blender with at least 2 cups vegetable (or chicken) broth, spices, to taste (such as cinnamon , nutmeg, pumpkin pie), ½ tsp salt, pepper, 1 tbsp maple syrup and 1 caramelized onion (chop it and sauté it in a saucepan with salt and olive oil before adding it to the blender).

Cinnamon Roasted Butternut Squash:


1 butternut squash

olive oil

ground cinnamon



Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Rinse and dry the butternut squash making sure to peel off the label/sticker if there is one.

Using a meat cleaver or the heaviest chef’s knife you have, cut the squash lengthwise down the middle. Be sure to keep your fingers behind the blade. Butternut squash is tough, so it’s easy for the knife to slip, especially if it’s not as sharp as it could be.

Coat the flesh side of the butternut squash, using an oil spray or a brush. Place the squash flesh side down on the baking sheet.

Roast for about 50 minutes to 1 hour, until tender and golden around the edges. You may need to leave it in the oven longer if the squash is still tough.

Once the squash is out of the oven, season it generously with cinnamon and a pinch of salt. You can experiment with nutmeg, cardamom, pumpkin pie spice, and maybe even a little brown sugar, to taste. Let cool for 5-10 minutes, then dig in.

Enjoy your lunch!

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