Food can bring such sheer comfort. In our hectic and busy lives, the right dish can bring cheer and boost our energy levels. It’s what everyone needs especially on long, tiring days.
If you're out at a hawker centre in Singapore, what are some things that you can choose to improve your mood?
I’ve got five dishes here to suggest but one thing I can always rely on is a good swig of Coke zero®. Sometimes I like to put my face near the surface of my drink and feel the fizzy bubbles popping on my skin, followed by the scent of cola. Oooh, I'm in my happy place for two seconds. Best of all, Coke® goes well with all the dishes below!
Fried or Sliced Fish SoupThis is one of my favourite dishes (photo above). I love fried fish soup and am always adding lots of chili padi to it (yes, that’s why I need two cans of Coke to help me afterwards!)
You know you’ve made the right decision in choosing to eat fish because research has found that people with low levels of omega-3 fatty acids, particularly those found in fish, such as DHA, are more likely to have memory problems. Researchers say the results suggests diets lacking in omega-3 fatty acids may cause the brain to age faster.
According to WebMD oysters contain all 9 essential amino acids; they’re rich in protein minerals and omega-3 fatty acids. All these things will keep you strong – and keep your immune system charged.”
I like my oysters best in that greasebomb called oyster omelette (my ultimate happy food!).
Noodles or Rice
This website tells us that “when you eat a carbohydrate-rich meal, your body triggers a release of insulin. This… causes any amino acids in the blood to be absorbed into the body, but not the brain. Except for... tryptophan! It remains in the bloodstream at high levels following a carbohydrate meal, which means it can freely enter the brain and cause serotonin levels to rise.”
Serotonin is “a chemical produced by the body that enables brain cells and other nervous systems cells to communicate with one another. Too little serotonin in the brain is thought to play a role in depression”.
Pair your noodles with nutritious items like Chinese black mushrooms (also known as dried shiitake mushrooms). Mushrooms offer much that is good for us. They are a good source of protein as well as antioxidants such as selenium, which helps to prevent cell damage, and copper, a mineral that aids in the production of red blood cells. In fact, mushrooms are the only produce that contains significant amounts of selenium.
Gado gado is technically a salad, and what a tasty one it is! Lots of blanched vegetables, tofu and tempeh - what could be wrong with that? Tempeh is a great soy product because it makes a certain type of natural antibiotic that fights certain bacteria. Tempeh is also high in protein. Read more here. You can also enjoy tempeh in a sambal, which I love when done with petai (stinkbeans).
Here is a recipe for it! http://www.camemberu.com/2010/05/recipe-sambal-petai-with-tempeh-and.html
When I eat that, I am definitely happy, although those around me may not be for the next few hours.
WebMD tells us that chickpeas, hummus’ main ingredient, give you protein, good-for-you carbs, and fiber. Like other members of the legume family, they routinely top lists of the world’s healthiest foods.
If you can't find chickpea curry, then look for your kacang putih man.
So there you have five local dishes with feel-good ingredients that can help us lift our moods. I am sure there are plenty more, if we care to look up the benefits of local ingredients.
I find that a nice beverage is also a quick way to help perk our moods up. Coke can be so refreshing when taken ice-cold when you’re thirsty on a sweltering day. On the other hand, some people like it warm with lemon (you folks in Hong Kong, you started this!) and swear it makes them feel better.
Ultimately, I think it also matters that you choose the foods you love. Eating something you hate won't make you happy for sure! Whatever it is, enjoy your food and let it bring a smile to your day!
This article is brought to you in partnership with Coca-Cola. All opinions shared by writer are his/her own.