How spicy food can help you cope with depression?

This article will discuss how spicy food can help a person that is going through depression. It will show why this happens, and what are some good spicy preparations you can make to improve your mood.

How spicy food can help you cope with depression?

Spicy food can help you with depression because by eating it, you may boost the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is responsible for making you feel good. This may improve your mood, and make your stress level go down.

This happens because when you are eating spicy food, a substance called Capsaicin is released. This substance is responsible for the boost in serotonin, and it will give you a sense of pleasure. 

Capsaicin is a plant compound that is usually considered something that will cause irritation. That is why, when you touch pepper and your eyes, it may burn. It is also what causes your mouth to experience that burning sensation as it touches the spicy food.

As all these stimuli may relate to pain. When you experience it, your body will release a rush of endorphins, to prevent you from feeling pain. And this is another reason why you can experience pleasure as you eat spicy food. 

What happens with Capsaicin, is that it connects to the pain receptors on your nerves. And as your body releases the endorphins to deal with the pain, it will also release dopamine. Which is responsible for the reward system part of the brain, causing you to want more spicy food. 

Although there is still a lot of research being done, it is understood nowadays how the levels of hormones, and neurotransmitters can be related to depression. High levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, and low levels of some neurotransmitters such as dopamine, and serotonin, are often connected to depression.

Being aware of that connection is extremely important so each person can care for their mood, and their eating habits in the hopes of feeling better. Spicy food will not only give you positive feelings, but it can also lower your stress levels. 

If you are feeling stressed, or even depressed, here are some spicy recipes you can do to make yourself feel better.

What are good spicy recipes to help with depression?

There are some spicy recipes you can do when you are depressed, to make you feel better. 

Spicy potato cakes

The preparation, from the beginning until it is fully cooked, lasts around 35 minutes. And one recipe is good for two servings.

  • Ingredients:

450 grams Potatoes 

1 Onion 

1 tsp Garam Masala

1/4 tsp Chilli Powder 

1 Tbsp Lemon Juice

2 Tbsp Chopped Fresh cilantro

4 Tbsp butter or oil


Black Pepper

  • How to prepare it:

First dice the potatoes, cook them in boiling lightly-salted water for 10-15 (or until tender).

While you wait, you can grate the onion. Once you are done, wring them well to squeeze out all excess moisture.  Then, transfer it to a large mixing bowl.

Add to the onion, garam masala, chilli powder, lemon juice and cilantro. Mixed them all well.

As the potatoes are done, drain them, and add to the bowl with the other ingredients. Add some salt and pepper. Mash the potatoes, until it is all mixed.

Once it is done, divide the mixture into 8 equal portions. Form a ball with each, and then make it flat. Heat your frying pan with butter or oil, and cook each side for two minutes until it is brown and crispy.

Snap Pea Salad with Radishes and Red Chili Pepper Vinaigrette

The preparation of this recipe is extremely quick. And each preparation composes 4 servings.

  • Ingredients:

2 cups snap peas

4 cups arugula

6 radishes

1/2 cup fennel bulb, sliced thinly

Vinaigrette Ingredients

1 shallot

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 teaspoon red hot chili pepper

1 tablespoon

1/2 cup olive oil

1 sea salt and pepper

  • How to prepare it:

First put the snap peas in boiling water for 7 seconds, and then put it on cold water. After that, you should cut them in half.

After that, in a mixing bowl, mix together the vinegar, minced shallot, and minced chili pepper, with the mustard. Add the oil, salt, and pepper to taste.

Later, get a large salad bowl and out in it the arugula, thin sliced radishes, fennel, snap peas, and chili peppers. Finish it with the vinaigrette.

Spicy Chili Hummus

The preparation of this recipe lasts around 15 minutes. And each preparation composes 10 servings.

  • Ingredients:

2 chickpea cans

1/8 cup chili oil

1/4 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 clove garlic

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1½ tablespoons sriracha, hot sauce

1½ tablespoons salt

1 teaspoon chili flakes

1/4 cup

  • How to prepare it:

Put all of the ingredients in a large food processor, keep it on until everything is mixed, and the combination is smooth. 

When done, put it in the fridge, and serve it cold with cucumber, bell peppers, carrots, or even tortilla chips.

Grilled Corn Pico de Gallo

The preparation of this recipe lasts around 25 minutes. And each preparation composes 6 servings.

  • Ingredients:

1 large red pepper,

1 jalapeno pepper

1 large yellow onion, 

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1 sea salt and pepper

4 ears of corn

1 , cut in half with the pit removed

1/2 cup , chopped

2 limes, one cut in half, one cut into 4 wedges

  • How to prepare it:

The first thing to do is to cut the red pepper in half, and take its seeds off. Do the same with the jalapeno.

Fire up your grill to medium-high heat. And put your peppers, and the onion, also cut in half on it, with a coat of coconut oil on them. Add salt, pepper, paprika, and chilli powder to it.

Let them roast for about 15 minutes, but in the middle of that time, rotate them. When the veggies are done, take them out

Put the corn you took in a bowl, dice the veggies, and some avocado, and mix it all. Add cilantro to them, add some lime, and finish the seasoning to taste.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): How spicy food can help you cope with depression? 

What are foods that are good for depression? 

If you are depressed, know that food can have an impact on how you feel. Although sometimes they can make you feel worse, some types of food may improve how you feel. An example of that are smart carbs that can have a soothing effect on you. 

Try to have more complex carbs, for example, whole grains. You may also have fruits and vegetables that are rich in carbs.

Food that has a high level of protein such as turkey, tuna, and chicken is rich in something called tryptophan, which helps in the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is responsible for making you feel good. But if you don’t eat meat, you can also get it from low-fat cheese, peas, and milk.

You should also have food that is rich in selenium since that can improve your mood. For that, you should consume beans and legumes, and have lean meat such as turkey or skinless chicken, low-fat dairy, nuts, and seeds.

Does depression have a cure? 

No, depression doesn’t have a cure. Rather than that, mental health professionals will say that depression is in remission. This means you will have more control over your emotions, and will begin to experience joy again. Aside from that, when you are in remission, you will regain your ability to be interested in things.

What is important at this moment is that you find a way to keep active on your mental health care even if you feel good. This is what will most likely prevent you from having a relapse in the future.

What is the 3 3 3 rule for anxiety? 

The 3 3 3 rule for anxiety is a calming and centering exercise that you can do as you begin to feel overwhelmed with your thoughts and feelings. To do it, as soon as you don’t feel well you should try and name 3 things you see around you. After that, you should name 3 things you hear.

Lastly, you should name 3 parts of your body. During this process, you will most likely feel calmer, and that the racing thoughts in your head have slowed down.

What foods should I avoid if I have depression? 

If you have anxiety or depression there are some foods you should avoid. The first thing to avoid is caffeine because that will have a direct impact on your sleep, which can make your depression worse. You should also avoid alcohol because that can make your symptoms of depression more intense.

Processed food may also not be a good idea if you are depressed, as well as fried food since both can harm your mood. 

What are food traps I should avoid when I am depressed?

If you are depressed, your eating pattern most likely has been affected. So there are some things you should be careful with. 

The first thing to avoid is eating as a way to get some comfort. Although you may feel like eating too much, or some specific greasy foods can make you feel better, keep in mind it will only be good at that moment.

After you binge eat, you may start to feel ashamed, and self-loathing can kick in. All of that can make you even sadder than you were before. Eating too little is also a problem when you are depressed. 

It will affect your energy levels, which are not that great, to begin with, if you are depressed.

Try to keep a routine of eating, which will also help with the third thing you should avoid. And that is eating whatever comes easily. Even though it may be hard to prepare a full healthy meal when you are depressed, know that caring for what you eat will have an impact on you, and may even improve your condition. 

If it seems hard for you to focus and cook, or even go to the grocery store, you may ask for help from your friends, or family members. They may help you with the groceries or even bring you some healthy food.


This article centered around how spicy food can improve your mood and help you feel better when you are depressed. Aside from that, the article showed some spicy recipes that you can make when you are depressed.

If you have any questions or comments about this article, feel free to write in the section below.


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