Good Food – Good Mood
It is so important to fuel our bodies with healthy, nourishing food to ensure it works efficiently. A poor diet will result in low energy, sluggishness and nutrient deficiencies, which will contribute to your overall low mood. Fill your diet with goodness and you will notice a boost in vitality.
Serotonin is known as our ‘happy hormone’ and its production increases when we are exposed to sunlight. Production of serotonin is closely linked to the availability of vitamin B6 and the amino acid tryptophan. If our diet lacks sufficient protein and vitamins we have a greater risk of serotonin deficiency. B6 is found in bananas, wheatgerm, avocado, carrots, brussels sprouts, potatoes, beans, wholegrains, green leafy vegetables, fish and chicken. Foods high in tryptophan are turkey, duck, peanuts, dairy products, chickpeas, almonds, brazil nuts, cashew nuts, walnuts, wholegrains, brown rice, pineapple, avocado, potatoes, bananas, soy products and fennel.
We may experience a dip in serotonin in relation to dieting, low protein intake, digestive disorders and stress. The stress hormone cortisol robs us of serotonin. Refined carbohydrates will result in short term boost in serotonin, but the pleasure is short lived as blood sugar levels rise then rapidly drops, leaving you feeling tired and down and craving even more refined carbohydrates.
Remember that your body deals with food as we feed it – our heads have the memory of previous ‘diets’ and perhaps past failures. Therefore, if we want to lose a few pounds and have a healthier lifestyle we need to make slight changes with realistic targets especially with timeframe and sustainable routine. When you begin to make changes to eat healthier it is important that you support your body with nutrients and a lifestyle that will promote both your physical and mental wellbeing.
Some food can literally boost your mood and energy levels. For better up take of tryptophan in the body eat food that contain tryptophan with a carbohydrate food such as rice or wholemeal bread. Carbohydrates cause the body to release more insulin, which promotes amino acid absorption and leaves tryptophan in the blood where it will be more likely absorbed through the brain barrier.
Walnuts, turkey, chicken, fish, bananas and avocados do this. Also, salmon, soy products, almonds, eggs and complex carbohydrates, like oatmeal or whole wheat. Exercise, sleep and being with other people will also boost your serotonin levels. Sunlight and positive thoughts will make you feel better.
Aspartame could deplete your serotonin levels, causing you to feel down. As a result, you might crave comfort food and fall into the trap of emotional eating. Since many low-calorie foods such as diet drinks contain aspartame, be careful as some so called ‘diet foods’ can lead to weight gain.
Article written by nutritionist Caroline Masters.