There are substances like serotonin or dopamine that can help you face the week with a more positive attitude. The key is to choose the right foods
May 29th, 2023 6:39 pm.
The pandemic and its closure, the war in Ukraine or the rise in prices are taking a toll on the mood of many people. In fact, according to a scientific report published by World Health Organization (WHO), During the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic, the spread of anxiety and Depression grew by 25% worldwide. And there was still war and inflation…
Serotonin and dopamine are two key substances in our emotional well-being.
With such an unfavorable scenario, it is not easy to maintain a positive outlook towards the future of life. However, we do have a number of tools for “moving the tortilla around”, including food. and that “man, to a great extent, holds the reins of his own state of mind, for what happens abroad affects our well-being, but does not determine it”, he maintains. Gemma Hortet, anthropologist and dietician, specializing in energy nutrition.
Serotonin and dopamine, well-being and pleasure
We know that there are foods that contain compounds that activate mood and are able to improve it. This is because “they contain amino acids, which are precursors to main neurotransmitters of well-being, like serotonin and dopamine,” says the expert.
These two substances are fundamental to understanding the connection between diet and emotions. “The serotonin It is identified with goodness, it is like a steady line built up over time. Dopamine, on the other hand, is a roller coaster, it’s pleasure”, exclaims Hortet.
On the other hand, “today, a large part of the food industry, aware of the effects of dopamine, provides highly processed products designed to generate peaks of Dopamine. Which substances produce a feeling of explosive joy? Gluten, Dairy Casein, Salt, Sugar, Others. These substances make food super addictive. Therefore, ideally, there should be more serotonin in our diet than dopamine,” the expert speculates.
Chicken, bananas and dark chocolate to cheer you up
According to the dietician, a stable, calm state of mind wrapped in an aura of well-being is the result of a pantry that includes tryptophan-rich foods. This substance is an amino acid, from which serotonin is synthesized, which in turn favors a sense of well-being.
Tryptophan is an amino acid that promotes the production of serotonin in the body.
Therefore, adding tryptophan-rich foods to the diet will increase your chances of warding off negativity, tiredness or fatigue. Experts point to some of the most interesting food proposals: “Same for beef, turkey and chicken blue fish, such as sardines or mackerel; Among nuts, almonds and sesame seeds; very important, eggs; As for good quality fats, avocados; From the group of fruits, banana; vegetables, broccoli and spinach; legumes, lentils; in the form of cereals, oats; And finally, dark chocolate”.
The greater the inflammation, the greater the physical and emotional discomfort.
Faced with foods that enhance a good mood, we find those that suppress it. To the expert, these are all foods over processed, “since they are perverted”. And he adds: “Consuming this type of food stimulates the body, a phenomenon known as neuroinflammation, which over time translates into feelings of mental lethargy, restlessness and lack of concentration. generated by.” Defendants, sugar, alcohol, condiments, coffee, among others”.
too much toast doesn’t help
What we eat is as important as how we prepare it. In this sense, Hortet holds that “the fry and fry Those are the two forms of culinary technique that present the most problems from an emotional point of view. There is nothing that evokes more pleasure than the texture of a croquette, french fries, tempura or toast, as crunchiness is highly associated with the discharge of emotional tension. However, it is essential that we do not go overboard while preparing these fried foods. Avoid frying, “because when we do, substances called acrylamides are produced, which are inflammatory and have neurotoxic effects,” the experts warn.
At the opposite extreme, experts point to softer cooking, such as when steamed, “chup-chups” or papillote, as better choices to avoid bloating and eventual emotional discomfort.
As for raw foods, “although it doesn’t affect mood, the truth is that raw foods are more difficult to digest, especially in people with slow metabolisms.” To improve digestion, “we can activate the metabolism with spices. For example, if you eat salad, you can add a little ginger or cinnamon powder, or apple cider vinegar. These are all spices that activate gastric juices,” he advises.
microbes that put us in a good mood
The role of the microbiota is important in emotional modulation. Now, of the millions of microbes that live in our guts, there are three types that take the cake in terms of their effects on mood. Are Bifidobacteria, Lactobacillus and Butyrate. It is known that the former greatly affect the production of serotonin and that lactobacilli have a very positive effect on anxiety, and that they control neuroinflammation. Both types of bacteria can be found in fermented foods, such as miso, tempeh, tamari, kimchi, sauerkraut, olive pickles, cucumbers, kefir or yogurt,” explains the expert.
For this butyrate, “We know that this affects brain wellbeing and that in order for bacteria to produce in our gut, we have to eat resistant starch. This is achieved by cooking any food rich in starch, such as potatoes, sweet potato or pumpkin, and leave it in the fridge for at least 24 hours before eating it. By doing this, the starch is converted to resistant starch, which is very low in glycemic load.”
Interoception and Proprioception
Beyond food composition, the expert considers other aspects that, in his opinion, are also involved in this physical-emotional connection. These are interoception (the ability to sense the internal position of your body) and proprioception (the ability of our brain to know the exact position of all parts of our body at all times). According to Hortet, as in the first, it refers that our organs “feel” something and send that sensation (pleasant or unpleasant) to the brain; And on the other hand, proprioception will tell us about how “our body posture while eating also affects our mood. For example, bringing food closer to the mouth and not the head towards the food, or keeping the back straight or Posture is connected to our parasympathetic system, which we need to be connected to when we are doing the digestive process properly.”
With information from Alimente