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Ratatouille with Red Snapper

Saturday, 15 August 2015 00:00  by Yolanda F.

When you’re depressed, eating well may not be your first inclination. But if you can overcome the urge to keep the depression cycle going and balance your diet, you’ll be much happier.

In fact, the gravity of depression and anxiety more often creates a tendency to binge or reach for comfort food assuming you can drown your sorrows in bacon cheese burgers, fries or macaroni and cheese that are rich in flavor and low in nutrients. It’s a vicious cycle that unfortunately only gets worse.

According to a study conducted at the University of Montreal and published in the International Journal of Obesity, researchers found that diets high in fat increase depressive behavior and anxiety in mice. In the study, a particular strain of mice susceptible to obesity were studied. The study also uncovered that eating comforting food for their feel good effect has an addictive quality, leading to a comedown that creates depression.

The foods you may hold so dear, like burgers, butter, ice cream and other foods that contain animal products, have been shown to cause inflammation throughout the body – including the brain.

So what’s the solution? Brain food!

Fish oil is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which play an important role in brain function. People with depression may have low blood levels of brain chemicals called eicosapentaenoic (i-koe-suh-pen-tuh-e-NO-ik) acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic (doe-koe-suh-hek-suh-e-NO-ik) acid (DHA). Both EPA and DHA are found in fish oil.

Not only will your brain benefit, but your risk of heart disease and high blood pressure will also take a dive. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010, you should consume at least 250 milligrams of EPA and DHA per week, or the amount of 8 ounces of seafood.

With this dish, you’ll also get a bit more than the recommended daily 2.4 micrograms of vitamin B-12, which you need for healthy red blood cells.

If you’re pregnant or nursing, however, watch your mercury levels by limiting your fish to 12 ounces per week. Fish to avoid for their high levels of mercury are swordfish, tilefish, king mackerel and shark.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large eggplant (about 1 pound), trimmed and cut into small dice
  • 1 medium onion, cut into small dice
  • 2 medium zucchini (1 pound total), trimmed and cut into small dice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 14.5-ounce can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon herbes de Provence, or ½ teaspoon dried thyme and ¼ teaspoon each of dried rosemary and dried marjoram
  • ¾ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish
  • 4 5-ounce red snapper fillets, skin-on
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Directions:

  1. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the eggplant and cook, stirring, until softened about 5 minutes. Remove the eggplant from the skillet. Heat another tablespoon of oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the zucchini and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini is softened, 6 minutes. Return the eggplant to the pan and add tomatoes, herbes de Provence, ½ teaspoon of the salt and ¼ teaspoon of the pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes. Season with more salt to taste. Stir in ¼ cup of the basil and remove from heat.
  2. Preheat the broiler. Sprinkle the fillets with the remaining ¼ teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Combine the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil with the lemon juice and brush on the fillets. Broil until the fish is cooked and firm, about 7 minutes.
  3. Mound 1 cup of the ratatouille onto 4 plates and top each with 1 fish fillet. Garnish with basil.
  4. Source: So Easy by Ellie Krieger

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