(First featured on Onya Mag)
Are you ready for more ideas on how to Feed Your Brain?
Here we are for Part 3 of this series.
Enjoy the third instalment! Email any questions, or feedback to email@example.com or comment below
3) Essential amino acids –
Amino acids are basically the building blocks of proteins.
Essential amino acids are ones that cannot be made in our bodies and so must be obtained from the foods that we eat.
Furthermore, neurotransmitters are made from essential amino acids, therefore without an adequate dietary supply, the communication system in our brain quite literally breaks down.
One of the most highly studied essential amino acids in this area is tryptophan, as it is vital for the production of the more well known neurotransmitter, serotonin.
Serotonin helps the body regulate appetite, sleep patterns and mood, therefore getting enough tryptophan in your diet is highly important, especially for conditions such as insomnia, depression and anxiety.
Low serotonin can also be a factor in tension, irritability, PMS symptoms, and aggressive behaviour.
As with all nutrients, tryptophan works synergistically with other nutrients including vitamin B6, vitamin C, folic acid and magnesium. For this reason, it is best to obtain tryptophan from food sources, as opposed to supplements, as food sources will typically also contain the other nutrients vital for its proper functioning.
Tryptophan is found in plentiful supply in foods such as seafood, chicken, turkey, red meat, soy beans and tofu.
Green vegies also supply a good amount, however, on average there is 5 times as much in the aforementioned sources.
To boost your brain power, as well as enjoy more regulated sleep patterns, moods and sense of calm, try turkey, cranberry and salad rolls or wraps for convenient work lunches; seared tuna steaks and greens for a happy dinner; or perhaps fresh soy beans (“edamame”) or prawns as yummy afternoon snacks.
You can also make amazing curries based on lamb, chicken, beef, seafood or even tofu, including loads of vegies to create winning combinations. Have fun experimenting.
For purely vegan sources of the magical tryptophan, go for beans (soy, lima, black, red kidney, pinto, lentils, dried peas); nuts and seeds (almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, peanuts, peanut butter, pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds, tahini); and wheatgerm. Easy!
At the moment, I am LOVING sprouted dried peas and lentils, flaked almonds, sunflower and pumpkin seeds as yummy additions to my ripper raw vegie salads. I also make a morning ritual out of cashews and walnuts.
This week reflect on and re-work your weekly menu to include daily sources of tryptophan.
You are guaranteed to feel and function 100% better when you are getting adequate amounts. With a little preparation and forethought, imagine how much more smoothly life could run?
Low moods are no fun for anyone. Kiss them goodbye with a loving, daily dose of some of the ideas suggested here.
I’m sure you too will come up with loads of other ideas and, of course, I’d love to hear them. Please send them through or comment below!
Until next time, to your happier self,
Food Body Lifestyle Guru
Writer, Speaker, Consultant
Founder of The You Method
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