One of my long time friends (whose initials are jw but shall remain nameless) is a bit of a sugarcarboholic and green isn’t her favorite food color. She also is in chronic pain and lacks energy. When I found this research I wanted to share itand I know she reads this blog.
The Chemistry of Joy
Our mood, outlook and energy levels are determined to a huge extent by the chemicals serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine and their relationship to one another.
We feel good when they are in balance. Beta endorphins also create a feeling of well-being, connectedness to others, and emotional stability. They even help us tolerate pain.
If levels of norepinephrine and dopamine are low,people will slow down, sleep a lot, have trouble concentrating and find it hard to motivate themselves.They can have a “sluggish” depression.
On the other hand, people with high levels of norepinephrine and dopamine, and possibly low levels of serotonin often feel angry, resentful and despairing.They can be critical and demanding. This would be an “agitated ” depression.
A third kind of depression can occur with low levels of serotonin, which results in people feeling fearful , worried and inadequate. This is an “anxious” depression.
In the Kitchen by Peggy
Sluggish Depression – Eating to INCREASE norepinephrine and dopamine: Eat high quality proteins throughout the day, lean beef, low-fat meats and fish.
Agitated Depression – Eating to DECREASE norepinephrine and dopamine: eat the same as to increase serotonin but eat very small amounts of protein. A vegetarian diet would be good.
Anxious Depression – Eating to INCREASE serotonin: Increase carbs, eat tryptophan, which is in nuts, dairy, and meats. Eat regularly throughout the day. Get some protein, but not a large amount.
SUGAR (also alcohol) elevates beta endorphins, which may be why people have sugar cravings. This elevation only lasts a short time, because the body metabolizes it quickly. This results in a “low” that follows the sugar “high”, and you want more sugar! My friend (who shall remain nameless) can avoid this by eatingcomplex carbs and protein.
Cholesterol helps the brain make the chemicals we need. So if you are depressed, eat some fat: Halibut, salmon, grains and nuts that have omega 3 and animal fat with omega 6 are both needed in balance.
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Hopefully my friend will not only read this post but start to eat better. To make sure, I’ll suggest it for the book we are working on . . .
“Hacking Your Way to Happiness”(It’s a work in progress, just like my friend).