These foods stimulate the secretion of hormones of mood, pleasure and happiness. (Happiness and Food)
Happiness and Food: Our body is capable of creating different hormones, which are responsible for different tasks within our body. Hormones are the chemical messengers of the body. They are transported through the bloodstream to the tissues and organs. There are three specific hormones that are responsible for our mood (serotonin), motivation and pleasure (dopamine), and happiness (endorphin).
Did you know that the food you eat influences directly your mood?
The relationship between Happiness and Food, Studies reveal a link between the intake of certain foods and the secretion of the aforementioned hormones.
Researchers from the University of Warwick and Dartmouth discovered the key to happiness through food, as well as physical and mental well-being. It involves consuming small portions of fruits and vegetables throughout the day.
But fruits and vegetables are not the only ones responsible for the secretion of these hormones. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid for the human body. Its most known and most important role is the metabolic precursor of serotonin, a neurotransmitter mentioned before, so if you don’t consume them frequently or do not like them, continue reading to know different alternatives for the secretion of these hormones.
There are three categories can be talked about the relationship between Happiness and Food.
The first category, Happiness and Food relationship could be mentioned – Serotonin:
Serotonin is a chemical substance produced by the human body, which transmits signals between the nerves, it functions as a neurotransmitter.
It is responsible for maintaining a balance in our mood, so a deficit of serotonin can lead to depression. The following foods can help increase serotonin levels:
- Bluefish: tuna, sardine, bluefish, anchovy. They are rich in tryptophan and Omega 3
- Eggs: the Ideal complement to add tryptophan and therefore, serotonin
- Dairy: Yogurt, milk, and cheese. Mainly cheddar, soy or Swiss cheese
- Cereals: Wheat, oats, corn, rye.
- Dark chocolate: The darker the better, since its tryptophan concentration is higher
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It is one of importance approach related to Happiness and Food. Well known for its importance in the Central Nervous System. Dopamine regulates emotions, memory, hunger, sexual instincts, among other activities.
The role of dopamine is fundamental since it carries out the management and coordination of the reward system of our brain.
- Banana: It favours the production of tryptophan, and provides various essential vitamins for the synthesis of serotonin and dopamine.
- Legumes: Mainly soy or peanuts. since they contain approximately 530 mg of tryptophan per 100 grams.
- Salmon: It is rich in Complex B that favours the production of dopamine
- Pineapple: Relieves anxiety and helps the production of many hormones
- Vegetables: In general they all contain high contents of tryptophan, but spinach is the richest.
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Last categories of Happiness and Food related to Endorphins:
It called molecules of happiness because they are the ones that allow people to enjoy life, feel happy and resurface easily from personal crises without too many emotional scars.
The stimulation of this substance depends on the fact that the activity we are doing is nice and pleasant. This can be achieved by exercising, eating, dancing, singing, anything that we enjoy. You must add these foods to your diet to release endorphins:
- Spicy foods: especially those that contain capsaicin (the Active component of hot peppers. It is irritating and it also produces a strong burning sensation in the mouth) since this substance helps fight frustration and depression. But, any spicy can get the sense of well-being increased because the brain perceives spicy as pain and, to decrease it, releases endorphins to calm the “pain”.
- Ginger: increases the production of endorphins
- Cherries: Considered the best natural antidepressant since the 80’s
- Chickpea: Natural antidepressant. It helps the production of serotonin.
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Other tips for the secretion of these hormones are Exercise since the brain releases endorphins naturally. Be sexually active (and be responsible about it), during these acts, it’s when more endorphins are released. Laugh out loud, it is proven that laughter stimulates the body, improves breathing, releases stress, and also produces endorphins. Practice relaxation exercises, it is clear that the more relaxed we are, the endorphins will appear more easily. Therefore, it clearly presents that the importance of Happiness and Food.
Some foods you should avoid or at least be conscious of the amounts that we ingest are:
- Coffee: Caffeine and theine have “stimulatory effects” that affect the nervous system and therefore produce changes in brain chemistry.
- Soda and alcohol: These drinks that are ingested in many homes around the world (such as soda, sugary and energizing beverages, wine or beer) can carry substances that stimulate the nervous system and “overactivated” the body, which can cause anxiety, mood swings, nervousness and insomnia. Furthermore, alcohol is considered a “nervous system depressant” and can, therefore, negatively alter the mood, triggering a rebound effect in people prone to suffer anxiety crises.
- Refined sugar: it does not contain essential nutrients and supplies a strong dose of immediate energy to the body that, can weaken the body’s mechanisms of glucose control.
- Artificial sweeteners: Such as Aspartame. They can provoke anxiety and other health issues if there is excessive consumption of these
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