The Happy Mondays: How to eat yourself happy

Winter’s blanket is slowly engulfing our friends in the south yet here in the Bay the 2nd of June brings another glorious morning of blue sky, crisp air and a slowly stirring tourist town that is aclimatising to the low season. This perpetual showering of sunlight brings even more vitamin D to our bones, enriching every cell with its calcium promoting activity and delivering the biochemical pathways that generate our much needed neuro-transmitters. Serotonin (or 5-HT) usually inhibits and is involved in arousal and sleep, mood, appetite and sensitivity. However, it is also excitatory and is part of the brain’s reward system producing feelings of pleasure.

Serotonin, has been recently discovered to be produced mainly in the gut and plays an important role in digestive function. Foods high in the amino acid tryptophan help to produce serotonin, the feel good neurotransmitter. As there appears to be an intricate connection between digestive problems, low serotonin levels and accompanying low self-esteem levels, having a diet rich in serotonin boosting ingredients makes good sense. New research has shown that people who binge have lower levels of serotonin and have a harder time controlling their cravings and binges.

Turkey contains tryptophan, which is an essential amino acid that helps the body produce the B-vitamin niacin, which in turn, helps the body produces the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is a calming agent in the brain. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that helps the body produce the B-vitamin niacin, which, in turn, helps the body produces the neurotransmitter serotonin which is a calming agent in the brain.

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Some Happy Foods

Turkey – high source if the amino acid tryptophan

  • Oats  – perfect for the winter chill. Try Flip’s 5 grain porridge
  • Seafood and fish – rich in omega 3 EFAs
  • Macadamias – rich in omega 7 EFAs
  • Pumpkin seeds – r ich in omega 6 EFAs
  • Sesame seeds – rich in omega 6 EFAs
  • Lentils – high protein and fibre to keep the gut clear

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