What we eat impacts our bodies and our minds. We have heard the phrase "fuel your body" with good nutrition. Let’s take a look at how important it is to also fuel our brain! Food is much more than calories. It is information. The nutrients we take in talk to our neurotransmitters and tell them what to do. Feel sleepy? Craving fatty/sugary/salty food? Anxious? Low energy? Sad? Food is a powerful tool to change your brain environment and your overall wellness. Our daily lives are quite depleting and change our brain chemistry. Stress, poor nutrition and lack of exercise can all deplete your neurotransmitters and cause these symptoms.
Interested? Read on to learn about the 4 primary neurotransmitters responsible for your mood and easy tips to provide your brain with optimized nutrition.
Got dopamine?This is your spark, your energy. People low in dopamine experience low energy, depression, weight gain, food cravings, especially sweets and caffeine as you are trying to give your brain the boost it needs. Need a dopamine boost? Start with the building blocks of our muscles and brain cells... protein! Protein is made up of amino acids, a must for fueling our neurotransmitters. Where do they come from? Look for foods high in the amino acid Tyrosine and Phenylalanine: Chicken, dark chocolate (my personal fave), eggs, turkey, wheat germ, yogurts, walnuts, oats.
Physicians at Harvard Medical School found that a daily dose of 6 grams of tyrosine decreased the symptoms of depression. *
Acetylcholine is another neurotransmitter, its name is difficult to spell and remember, which is ironic because it helps you spell and remember things. This one is about our brain speed, reactions and comprehension. It's levels reflect your brain age... kind of like dog years . Your brain can age rapidly by being depleted with stress, poor nutrition and toxins. Conversely, you can reduce your brain age and risk for forgetfulness related issues by fueling the building blocks of this important neurotransmitter. When low on this one you may experience learning and memory issues, difficulty with attention and concentration and you may crave fatty foods. What does it need? Food with choline and healthy fat content, also foods rich in Omega 3 fatty acids. Often times dieting and decreasing fat content can deplete this neurotransmitter as it requires healthy fats such as almonds, avocado, bacon, eggs, fish, hazelnuts,peanut butter, shrimp, wheat germ, beef, broccoli, macadamia nuts, and zucchini.
Yo GABA! This one is all about balance and how you handle stress. Feeling anxious, nervous or irritable? You may be GABA deficient. Fuel it up by eating foods with high glutamate or glutamic acid (form of glutamine) such as almonds, banana, halibut, broccoli, oats, spinach, walnuts, oranges or other citrus fruits.
Last but not least Serotonin Seratonine affects your serenity; your ability to rest and to sleep. Those very important aspects of our lives that are often neglected? Low serotonin symptoms include addictive behaviors, binge eating, depression and sleep disturbance. Often times your brain is seeking to increase serotonin by a quick fix, including sugar, carbs, fatty foods and salty foods, which promote a quick release of serotonin. To restore serotonin, your brain needs the important amino acid tryptophan, this is a component of protein rich foods. Do you feel sleepy after turkey dinner? That’s because your brain received a much needed dose of this important nutrient. Other food options include avocado, cheese, chicken, chocolate, egg, cottage cheese, wheat germ, cream of wheat and yogurt.
Ready to boost your mood? Try consuming more of the foods listed above to modify your mood as desired and if you would like to learn more, please contact me! Let's work together to create some recipes for success, targeting improved mood, energy and comprehensive wellness with nutrition, activity and cognitive therapeutic support.
I look forward to working with you! For more nutrition, health, fitness, mental health and wellness info contact me by email firstname.lastname@example.org. Interested in an integrative health approach? Check us out at SageMED.co to learn more about our amazing team and schedule today, 425-679-6056.
"The greatest medicine of all is teaching people how not to need it." Hippocrates Marrie is a therapist, trainer, and health and wellness coach. She is passionate about preventative care, wellness and living a healthy, active, happy and balanced life. * The Edge Effect, E. Bravernman