10 Nov Foods To Help Your Mood
Its that time of year where its getting dark early, cold and activity starts to wind down. While it’s easy to get down and depressed there are a few things you can do. And that begins with brain health.
One thing we cover with new clients is neurotransmitter health. This is crucial for the success of anyone’s program. There are 5 neurotransmitters we deal with and they are mostly made in the stomach. We are sure you have heard of most of them. They are serotonin, dopamine, gaba, adrenaline and acetylcholine.
Here is a brief overview:
- Brain hormones
- Serotonin, dopamine, adrenaline, acetylcholine, GABA
- Relaxing side = serotonin and GABA
- Stimulating = dopamine, adrenaline and acetylcholine
- Impacts cravings and motivation
By understanding these neurotransmitters and the problems they can cause, we can effectively deal with the cravings and issues they create. When we first work with new clients we give them a neurotransmitter test to help us and them understand what they might be deficient in. The assessment we use is the Braverman Assessment (an online modified version is here.) This is a great test for understanding issues that can come up down the road.
So over the next few posts we will discuss all neurotransmitters except adrenaline in detail, what cravings they cause and how to help them through nutrition and even some beneficial supplements. Today we will start with Serotonin!
What does serotonin help with? To keep it very brief, serotonin helps with comfort and self esteem and overall happiness. If you’re the kind who likes loads of information you can read a great article on it here.
Now you can either be neurotransmitter dominant or deficient and you should really take the Braverman assessment before tinkering with things. But here are a few signs you are serotonin deficient and comes straight from the Braverman assessment:
“Physical Issues: Aches and soreness, allergies, arthritis, backache, blurred vision, carbohydrate cravings, clammy hands, constipation or diarrhea, difficulty swallowing, dizziness, drug or alcohol addiction, drug reactions, dry mouth, hallucinations, headaches, high pain/pleasure threshold, hypersensitivity, excessive sleeping, hypertension, insomnia, muscle tension, nausea, night sweats, palpitations, parethesias, PMS, premature ejaculation, premature orgasm for women, salt cravings, tachycardia, ringing in ears, tremors, urinary frequency, vomiting, weight gain. Personality Issues: Codependency, depersonalization, depression, impulsiveness, lack of artistic appreciation, lack of common sense, lack of pleasure, social isolation, masochistic tendencies, obsessive compulsive disorder, paranoia, perfectionism, phobias, rage, self-absorption, shyness.
Memory Issues: Confusion, memory loss, too many ideas to manage. Attention Issues: Difficulty concentrating, hypervigilance, restlessness, slow reaction time.”
That is a large list, but a quick summary would be you have cravings for starch, salt, chocolate. Another sign, you have trouble sleeping by reducing your daily carb intake too low as carbs help with serotonin. This is usually pertains to women, especially those either peri or post menopausal.
What foods can you eat to help?
Well everyone gets excited when we tell them this. Chocolate with 70% or better cocoa, increase your colored salts on your foods when you eat (they contain a complete trace mineral profile and will not cause high blood pressure issues, that’s white salt which is off limits) and if a women has trouble sleeping on a lower carb diet I give her 5 to 8 bites of either rice, sweet potato or oatmeal before bed. This can help with sleep and serotonin (this also helps with catecholamine resistance which is characterized by a racing mind while you are trying to sleep.) Here are some other foods:
) Free Range Turkey
2) Flaxseed/ Flaxseed oil
3) Wild Fish and Sea food
4) Whey protein
6) High quality Eggs
7) Sour Cherries
8) Free Range Beef
9) Dark Chocolate
Some supplements that can help:
Serotonin Boosters ( We have seen best results with fish oil, magnesium, and 5HTP but everyone is different. Your recommendation and your dosage are based on your test results. Some of these supplements would not be taken for ever.)
Fish oil (pharmaceutical 500 mg 1000 mg 2000 mg
5-HTP (with 100 mg 200 mg 400 mg
Magnesium 200 mg 400 mg 600 mg
Melatonin (at night) 1/3 mg ½-2 mg 1-6 mg
Passionflower 200 mg 500 mg 1000 mg
Pyridoxine 5 mg 10 mg 50 mg
SAM-e 50 mg 100 mg 200 mg
St. John’s Wort 200 mg 400 mg 600 mg
Tryptophan (prescription) 500 mg 1000 mg 1500-2000 mg
Zinc 15 mg 30 mg 45 mg
There you have it. Serotonin in a nutshell. What you can eat, what you can take, and hopefully how to identify a few issues. Again, first take the Braverman assessment, it will give you a great idea of where to start. And like always if you have questions contact us and we will be happy to work with you.
Next time, GABA!
Aizawa et al. The Synchronous Activity of Lateral Habenular Neurons Is Essential for Regulating Hippocampal Theta Oscillation. The Journal of Neuroscience, 2013 DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4369-12.2013
F. Klempin, D. Beis, V. Mosienko, G. Kempermann, M. Bader, N. Alenina. Serotonin Is Required for Exercise-Induced Adult Hippocampal Neurogenesis. Journal of Neuroscience, 2013; 33 (19): 8270 DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5855-12.2013