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Changing our eating habits and incorporating foods that encourage happiness, wellbeing and satisfaction is a great way to start on the journey toward improving our mood and general outlook.
An easy way to encourage a good mood is to consume foods high in tryptophan, which is converted in our bodies to a chemical called serotonin.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter in the brain that relates directly to our mood and general wellbeing.
When serotonin levels are low, we can feel anxious, depressed, lost and a general sense of unease.
Tryptophan is an essential amino-acid, which means it cannot be produced in the human body, it must be consumed, so it is important to incorporate tryptophan-containing products into your diet.
Bananas contain a high amount of important nutrients. They contain tryptophan, as well as vitamins A & B6, potassium, phosphorous, iron, carbohydrate and fibre.
Mood-boosting carbs assist in the absorption of tryptophan and B6 helps to convert tryptophan into 5-HTP, which is then converted into serotonin.
Eating a banana a day is a great rule and will increase your serotonin levels in no time!
Flaxseed and flaxseed oil.
Flaxseeds contain high levels of tryptophan and omega-3 fatty acids. The serotonin-related benefits of omega-3 fatty acid consumption have been well-documented, with these supplements becoming increasingly prescribed in the treatment of depression and related mental illnesses.
Most of the brain’s structural composition is fatty-acid cells along a chain of omega-3 fatty acids. Consuming around two tablespoons of flaxseeds/flaxseed oil daily is enough to make a difference in mood.
I am lucky enough to have chickens in my backyard who produce astoundingly good quality eggs. Because of this, eggs have become a staple in my diet and I am most definitely happier for it!
As we know, tryptophan is converted to serotonin, which is why eggs can have a calming effect. They also contain the amino acid tyrosine, which synthesizes dopamine and norepinepherine—two neurotransmitters which promote alertness and mental activity.
Dark chocolate has long been touted as a natural anti-anxiety remedy and there is truth to this claim.
Research conducted by the University of California found that dark chocolate contains naturally occurring chemicals called flavonoids, which increases nitric oxide levels in the blood stream.
This increase encourages better blood flow and relaxation of the arteries.
They also found that the chilled and relaxed feeling you experience after eating a piece of dark chocolate is due to the serotonin boost in the brain thanks to the tryptophan dark chocolate contains.
Dark chocolate need not be considered a guilty pleasure but the dark chocolate you do eat should be of very high quality and high cocoa content.
These tasty treats are only some of many foods that contain mood-boosting goodies and are easy additions to most diets.
Remember to seek advice from a qualified medical professional before making changes to or supplementing foods in your diet, and honour your body.
This post is for information purposes only.
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Author: Rachel Carr
Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock
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