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Everybody let’s get happy…


My last blog post was about the foods that can make us feel good - we had Fats (the good fats not fried foods), Amino Acids (Tryptophan), Folate, H2O, B12 and Fibre….


Now what else can make us happy? We have something called neurons in our brain these conduct nerve signals (don't worry I won’t get too technical!) to get a signal a neurotransmitter is passed between two neurons so that the signal may continue it's journey to or from the brain….basically a messenger.


There are four main neurotransmitters that are very closely linked to our mood:

• Serotonin (emotions/feelings of wellbeing and happiness) • Dopamine (Reward & Pleasure) • GABA • Norepinephrine


You may have heard of these, so I will explain a little more so you can get an understanding of why they are important in making us happy little ducklings & where we can find these… because who doesn’t like to be happy?


SEROTONIN

Promotes emotions/feelings of wellbeing and happiness


As mentioned in previous post - Serotonin is synthesised in the body from tryptophan. Tryptophan is abundant in

  • Fish

  • Eggs

  • Chicken

  • Nuts, beans, legumes

  • Turkey

  • Other meats


Around 90% of serotonin is located in the gastrointestinal tract (GI Tract), where it acts to regulate intestinal movements ?


What happens if we don’t have enough serotonin:

  • Anxiousness

  • Depressed mood

  • Aggression

  • Irritability

  • Insomnia

  • Low energy

  • Low self-esteem

  • Decreased libido

  • Poor appetite

  • Poor memory

  • Constipation

  • Weight gain

  • Carbohydrate cravings

  • Digestive problems


Dopamine

This one of the most powerful neurotransmitters as it affects mood and food intake. When highly super tasty foods are consumed: chocolate, soft drinks, fast food , lollies and potato chips, dopamine is released in response.


Dopamine activates the reward and pleasure centres of the brain, therefore providing a positive connection between the food consumed and the resulting mood. This can lead to overeating of these feel good foods (higher in calories) and can lead to weight gain & unhealthy bodies. The impact this feeling has also overrides the bodies natural ability to say STOP I’M FULL again leading to overeating and weight gain.


What happens if we don’t have enough dopamine?

  • depression

  • mood swings

  • food cravings

  • poor attention


How do our Dopamine levels get to be low?

  • poor nutrition

  • chronic stress

  • inadequate sleep

  • medications


What’s next on the funny sounding neurotransmitters?


Norepinephrine

This regulates cognition, motivation, and intellect.

What happens when we don’t have enough norepinephrine?

We are more susceptible to mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety

Protein is responsible for the release of Norepinephrine into the brain,


What foods are helpful in the release of Norepinephrine

  • Meat

  • Eggs

  • Chicken

  • Nuts

  • Seeds

  • Beans

  • Dairy products


One of the many reasons why as a Coach I like to emphasis of protein in your diet!


Lucky last of the 4 neurotransmitters is:


GABA - (Gamma-aminobutyric acid)

GABA it has a very important role and in very basics terms keep is to keep us calm & motor control and vision. It is important in the regulation of insulin and glucagon. It acts on the pancreas to prevent glucagon from being secreted when insulin is released during digestion

GABA is found in the brain but is also found in the :

  • Pancreas

  • Stomach

  • Intestines

  • Kidneys

  • Bladder

  • Lungs

  • Liver


What happens when we don’t have enough GABA?

  • Depression

  • Anxiety

  • Panic attacks

  • Insomnia

  • An increased risk for dependence on drugs or alcohol


Having a ‘diet’ and as I have said this before I use the word ‘diet’ loosely but more about what food you consume, include as much variety: fresh produce vegetables, fruit, nuts , dairy & meat as possible will help ensure we are covering all bases!


For more assistance with your Nutrition Plan, contact me to get started.





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