I must be joking! Foods that can make one happy?!? Well, the logic is that we are but slaves of our hormones. Whatever transpires in our minds is nothing but a game played by the endocrine system of the body. I keep reminding myself this fact whenever I am depressed or sad. So my research tells me that if I want to be happy, I must keep certain hormones running appropriately in my blood stream. These hormones thankfully can be manipulated by the foods that we intake.
ʻSerotoninʼ is the main hormone that is responsible for making our mind happy. It is a hormone that also acts as a neurotransmitter. In simpler words, its a chemical that transmits signals from brain to cells of the rest of the body. For example, if a personʼs mentality is happy, it is the serotonin that tells the physical body to act happy or make happy gestures. Its primary role is to make you calm and make the blood vessels narrow to slow down the body. Intake of foods that are rich in serotonin will help your brain to feel calm and happy.
Foods that help in production of serotonin are:
Grains like brown rice, wheat germ, whole grain cereals or high carbohydrate foods increase serotonin levels in the blood stream. Starting the day with a whole grain cereal for breakfast will start your day with nutrients that help to boost serotonin.
Foods like eggs, beans, fish, turkey, chicken and beef contain an important amino acid, Tryptophan. The brain uses this amino acid to produce serotonin. Fish like salmon, tuna, snapper, sardines are an excellent source of tryptophan.
Walnuts, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, peanuts, almonds and cashews help in increasing the serotonin production in the body.
Fruits like bananas and sour cherries, milk and dark chocolate also are known to help in the production of serotonin.
A good nightʼs sleep can make or break your following day. Blessed are people who can sleep ʻlike a babyʼ in their middle age and old age. A lot of factors affect the sleep pattern of oneʼs body, and food is one of the factors that can bring the body to be in a relaxed state.
Melatonin is known as the sleep hormone and is responsible for inducing sleep in humans. Melatonin helps to regulate various hormones and maintains the bodyʼs rhythm of falling asleep and waking up. Although there is no perfect list of foods that induce sleep, but a few foods that can help in the production of melatonin in the body are as follows:
Milk tops the list of foods that induce sleep. So when you are handed a glass of milk at night, be rest assured that it will help you get a good sleep. Dairy products like cottage cheese, cheese, milk, along with soy products. Sea food, meats, poultry, whole grains, beans, rice, hummus, lentils, nuts and eggs. Seeds such as sunflower, sesame and pumpkin.
A meal high in carbohydrates and calcium and medium to low in proteins is excellent for inducing sleep. Calcium in the food helps to produce melatonin. Since carbohydrates take longer to digest, therefore the intake of food must be well before bedtime so that the food is digested and all the elements are working to optimum.
MEMORY AND CONCENTRATION
Dependence on the machine would have been minimal only if humans could rely on their memory and focus power. But this function too is affected by the hormonal activity and thus can be regulated with certain foods. The human brain is a complex, active machine and is greatly affected by diet. Eating the right foods can keep one focused and increase recall levels throughout the day. Diet rich in antioxidants, vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids, folic acid can ensure good .
The memory and concentration can be increased by: Foods that contain Omega-3 Fatty acids are on the top of the list of foods that enhance memory and concentration. Foods like tuna, salmon, mackerel and herring are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
Intake of Vitamin E is associated with less cognitive decline related with age. Therefore foods like almonds, brazil nuts, pecans, hazelnuts, seeds like flax seeds, sunflower are helpful in maintaining brainʼs health.
Berries of all varieties have an abundance of anthocyanins which are a type of antioxidants that help to improve memory. Acai berries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries are all good sources. Red grapes and red wine is an excellent source of antioxidant named quercetine that helps to improve memory.
Egg yolk contains choline which is a constituent of brain cells that help improve memory. Its the choline intake that affects the neural development of the fetus during pregnancy. Other food sources of choline are soybeans, butter, peanuts and potatoes. Caffeine rich drinks also help to stimulate the brain but their effects are short lived. But their ʻpickingʼ up effects do help when one needs to concentrate for a short duration of time. The leaves of a tree called gingko biloba are known to be helpful in cognitive function but these can only be taken as supplements.
We all know that oxygen is vital for our existence but its a lesser known fact that its the
same oxygen that is aging us. Our body is continually going through a process of
oxidation which is responsible for the death of cells in our body. The process of oxidation is
what brings about aging in the human body. The aging cannot be stopped but it can
surely be delayed. The delaying of the aging process is referred to as ʻAnti Aging.
To inhibit oxidation process, the body has what are called antioxidant molecules. Our foods
can be enriched in these antioxidant molecules and the intake of these foods can delay
Some of the foods that help in anti aging are:
Fresh produce: Fruits like avocado, blue berries, cran berries, strawberries, blackberries
and raspberries are rich in antioxidant molecules. Even just one orange a day can help
you feel younger because not only is it bursting with vitamin C, but it also contains skin firming collagen.
Green tea is loaded with antioxidants and having a few cups daily enriches and moistens oneʼs body making it look younger. Bell peppers are loaded with antioxidants and thus help in boosting the immune function and help in making skin healthy. A protein rich diet is obviously more beneficial than a carb rich diet as you age. Thus chicken and turkey breast, lean pork and beef, eggs, beans and seafood are on top of the list for the meat lovers. For the non meat eaters, protein rich dairy products can do the same. Fat-free milk, yogurt, cheese help to keep weight in check and keep the blood pressure healthy and bones strong. Another benefit of yogurt is that it lowers the risk of tooth loss associated with aging.
Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as seafood, whole grains because of their fiber
content offer protection against an array of age related diseases. As is evident that the foods that help the body in the above mentioned functions are more or less the same, thus intake of these foods will ensure a harmonized functioning of the body. Therefore add a handful seeds here, a small bowl of berries there, a slice of avocado, a few cups of green tea all in a dayʼs work, and your sleep, skin, memory and mood are taken care.