The gentle waft of simmering bouillabaisse certainly puts a smile on my face. But the delightful aroma and taste isn’t the only reason this dish can make you feel happy. In fact, one key ingredient could have as much mood-boosting benefits as a common anti-depressant.

Earlier research pointed to saffron, an ingredient in bouillabaisse, as a potential anti-depressant. And new research published in the journal Progress in Neuropsychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry confirms this pricey spice’s ability to alleviate the doldrums.

In the eight-week study, researchers compared saffron’s anti-depressant activity to fluoxetine (the generic name for Prozac). Forty adults, meeting the criteria for major depression, participated. Group 1 patients received a capsule filled with 15 mg of saffron (C. sativus) morning and evening. Group 2 received 10 mg of fluoxetine morning and evening. At the end of the trial, researchers found that saffron had the same mood-boosting benefits as the drug.

So how much is 15 mg of saffron, anyway? That’s less than a tenth of a teaspoon. Most saffron is sold by the gram, at about $15.

While you can season your paella or bouillabaisse with saffron, a good way to make this spice a mood-lifting mainstay in your diet is to mix it right into your favorite organic, chicken-based pre-made soups. Or brew a cup of Spicy Saffron Tea. Just add one teaspoon of saffron, four crushed cardamom pods, and three teaspoons of erythritol to four cups of boiling water. Steep for 20 minutes. Enjoy.

Kelley Herring is the Founder & CEO of Healing Gourmet – a multimedia company that educates on how foods promote health and protect against disease. As a young adult, Kelley battled a debilitating health condition that went misdiagnosed by multiple doctors for more than a year. Finding no help from “modern medicine”, she turned to her own knowledge of biochemistry and her passion for health research. She soon learned that her symptoms were related to nutrition and within weeks, she charted a course back to health with nothing more than simple lifestyle changes and the power of the plate. The lessons she learned spawned the creation of Healing Gourmet.
Kelley is a firm believer in vigorous exercise, moderate sun exposure and delicious, healthy, home-cooked meals. She is also the creator of Healing Gourmet’s Personalized Nutrition Software and Editor-in-Chief of the Healing Gourmet book series published by McGraw-Hill including Eat to Fight Cancer, Eat to Beat Diabetes, Eat to Lower Cholesterol and Eat to Boost Fertility.

Kelley Herring

Kelley Herring is the Founder & CEO of Healing Gourmet – a multimedia company that educates on how foods promote health and protect against disease. As a young adult, Kelley battled a debilitating health condition that went misdiagnosed by multiple doctors for more than a year. Finding no help from “modern medicine”, she turned to her own knowledge of biochemistry and her passion for health research. She soon learned that her symptoms were related to nutrition and within weeks, she charted a course back to health with nothing more than simple lifestyle changes and the power of the plate. The lessons she learned spawned the creation of Healing Gourmet.
Kelley is a firm believer in vigorous exercise, moderate sun exposure and delicious, healthy, home-cooked meals. She is also the creator of Healing Gourmet’s Personalized Nutrition Software and Editor-in-Chief of the Healing Gourmet book series published by McGraw-Hill including Eat to Fight Cancer, Eat to Beat Diabetes, Eat to Lower Cholesterol and Eat to Boost Fertility.