Showing posts with label serotonin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label serotonin. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Can Your Diet Make You Happier?

Experts are recognizing that what you eat and other important health and wellness practices may contribute to your level of happiness. Which eating habits can you adopt that will help you and your family members obtain maximum happiness?

How can your diet make you happier?

Research supports the idea that what you eat may help or hinder your mood, sense of wellbeing, and overall happiness. Consuming a balanced diet is essential to good health. Consult with your doctor or healthcare provider regarding the use of supplements.

What are the building blocks of eating for happiness?

Amino acids are essential for wellbeing. Animal-based sources of amino acids include meats, fish, milk, and eggs. If you're a vegetarian or vegan, you can get these acids from plant sources including soy, beans, legumes, and some grains. Too much caffeine in your diet, excessive exercise, stress, and your genes may deplete your amino acids.
Serotonin is essential for balancing your mood. Lack of serotonin may cause anxiety, panic, anger, and pessimism. Experts suggest that consuming tryptophan-rich foods like milk can help you obtain necessary amounts of this important building block.
 Catecholamines are hormones made by your adrenal glands, which sit on top of your kidneys. They support alertness, energy, concentration, and drive.
Gaba is a brain chemical related to a sense of calm and relaxation. Prolonged stress or a diet lacking in nutrients may cause a gaba deficiency. If you need more gaba in your life, consume more shrimp, oolong tea, cherry tomatoes, and kefir probiotic drink.
Endorphins may be affected by genetics, chronic stress, and physical pain. You can build your endorphins with spicy foods, chocolate, herbal teas, and energy drinks.
Omega-3s are the key to building healthy brain cells. Get your omega-3 acids by eating fatty fish, pastured meat, dairy products, walnuts, and flax seeds.
Zinc/B6 are important nutrients for brain function. Chicken, pork, and beans contain zinc; tuna, turkey, beef, and eggs are all high in vitamin B6.

Check out the government's Medline Plus website for more information on amino acids.

How do you ensure you have all the building blocks in your diet?

In some cases, your body may produce a building block, and you need to be aware that you don't deplete it. In other instances, consuming the right foods might be the answer. In some cases, it may be necessary to take supplements. You should always check with your doctor or healthcare provider for guidance.

What are other considerations?

Digestion is a key component of the happiness lifestyle. Properly digesting food is essential to maximizing the nutrients you take in from the food you eat. Factors such as diet, medications, stress, disease, and alcoholism can alter or impair your body’s digestion.

Stable blood sugar is key to balance, wellbeing, and a positive mood. Consuming protein is essential to achieving blood sugar stabilization. Too much sugar or caffeine in your diet can have a negative effect on your blood sugar.

How do lifestyle factors play a role in happiness?

Sleep remains an important ingredient of a happy life.
Exercise is key. Regular exercise, even for a few minutes a day, is a must for a well-balanced lifestyle.
Find ways to manage stress or remove stressors from your life. Excessive stress can have a negative impact on your wellbeing.
Drinking adequate water throughout a day is important to preventing dehydration, which can lead to fatigue and difficulty concentrating.
Don’t forget the fun! Participate in sports, activities, or hobbies that make you feel good, challenge you, and have a positive effect on your sense of self-worth.

Adopt these building blocks and lifestyle factors, and you and your family will enjoy reaping the benefits of living a happier life!

Live Healthy. Live Smart.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Foods that Improve Your Mood

You may have heard the old saying you are what you eat. Have you ever given it much thought? The food you eat becomes a part of you, but take it a step further and you might find that the foods you eat can also improve your mood!

When I was pregnant, I felt the healthiest I've ever felt in my entire life. I felt truly happy, blessed, and amazing, for starters, plus I had a very good pregnancy. But I also tried to eat healthier and, except for some cookies and chocolate chip muffins here and there, I found that I often felt healthier than ever before, even though I was a bit more tired at times.

Chocolate is known to release endorphins that
can bring about a temporary good mood.
You may have heard, or experienced, that chocolate impacts the brain’s release of hormones, specifically endorphins and serotonin. This release of endorphins and serotonin bring about feelings of pleasure and comfort. Almost any woman can vouch for the power of chocolate! Some researchers attribute this to the small amounts of caffeine found in chocolate.

Of course, if you go about eating chocolate all the time to stay happy, you may find yourself dealing with other problems, like skin breakouts and a sugar rush that has you bouncing off the walls, or even a sugar crash an hour or so later, where you can barely keep your eyes open. Take some time to explore the best options in food to improve your mood.

How to Improve Mood with Food

If you find yourself easily
frustrated and moody, food may
improve your mood.
Eating some healthier foods can improve your life in a number of ways. First, you may notice improvements in your weight and body image. If you are watching your cholesterol and blood pressure, eating foods lower in fat and sodium will help your numbers. That in itself can improve your mood! However, a variety of special foods may also result in a mood change, giving you a more optimistic point of view and a happier perspective.

Some research suggests that vitamin D can increase serotonin levels, which may result in an improvement in mood for people who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. Some top Vitamin D foods to boost your mood may include egg yolks, fish with bones, and low-fat milk, to name a few. Foods rich in omega-3 fats also seem to have a mood-lifting impact that might chase away depression. Oily fish like salmon and mackerel are high in omega-3 fatty acids, as are walnuts, canola oil, and ground flax seeds, among other nutritious foods.

Folic acid (folate) and Vitamin B Complex also offer tremendous health benefits for improving your mood and your health in general. Consider foods like broccoli, beets, oranges, sunflower seeds, fortified whole-grain breakfast cereals, and oatmeal, as well as lean meats, shellfish, low-fat yogurt, and eggs, to get your food and mood on the right path.

Many people take medications containing serotonin for depression relief and to uplift their moods. Some foods for serotonin production include those with B vitamins and those with tryptophan, such as turkey, soy products, and bananas. You can include other foods to improve your mood and ensure your diet is healthy, balanced, and rich in these elements. Increases in serotonin and food choices rich in vitamins and healthy nutrients can dramatically impact your state of mind. Knowing when and what to eat for snacks as well as mealtime may give you just the right mood boosting benefits to make a real difference in your life and your perspective.

Remember to limit refined carbohydrates, like white rice or bread, while increasing your consumption of healthy proteins as you are able. Choose desirable carbohydrates like fruits, vegetables, beans, and brown and wild rice to get your carb fix. Enjoy poultry, veal, seafood, eggs, and other healthy protein options as a great step in improving your mood with food.

The next time your mood leaves something to be desired, don’t reach straight for the junk food. Consider chowing down on some of these more nutritious snacks to help boost your frame of mind.

By Kathryn M. D’Imperio
Contributing Writer