We all have heard the phrase, "You are what you eat," which usually refers to one's body weight and overall health. However, studies have also shown that certain foods can also just make you feel better.yeah
Your brain uses several chemicals, called neurotransmitters, to regulate bodily functions. Two major chemicals, dopamine and serotonin, control your mood—not having enough could cause depression.
Your body makes these chemicals naturally but external factors, such as drug use, can interfere with neurotransmitter production. For example, crystal meth, can interfere with your ability to make dopamine, while ecstasy can hinder serotonin production.
In the early stages of recovery, your body is still recovering from the effects of drug use—this could include reduced neurotransmitter production. Your doctor could prescribe drugs that replace these chemicals as part of your recovery program. You can supplement these drugs, and even stimulate neurotransmitter production, by adding certain foods to your diet.
The following nutrients are mood-lifting nutrients because they stimulate the production of dopamine and serotonin:
- The amino acids tyrosine and tryptophan, found in chicken, turkey, dark chocolate, milk and milk products, bananas, and avocados;
- B vitamins, especially B12 and Folic Acid, found in shellfish, wheat germ, oatmeal, leafy greens, nut and seeds, and fortified breads;
- Iodine, magnesium, and selenium, found in shellfish, seaweed, brazil nuts, liver, and wheat, oat, and rice bran;
- Omega 3 fatty acids, found in oily fish, olives and olive oil, and walnuts; and
- Vitamins C and E, found in fresh fruits and vegetables, and nuts and seeds.
There are also several foods that are fortified with key nutrients, like cereals fortified with B vitamins, and milk and eggs fortified with Omega 3 fatty acids.
Dig In: Eat These to Feel Good
A blackened salmon salad with spinach, avocado, tomato and onion, and bleu cheese. The spinach provides selenium, the avocado provides tyrosine, the salmon provides Omega-3, the tomato and onion provide vitamin C, and the bleu cheese provides tyrosine, tryptophan and iodine.
California roll with crab meat, avocado and cucumber wrapped in seaweed. The crab meat gives you B vitamins and, with the seaweed, provides iodine, magnesium, and selenium. The avocado gives you tyrosine, and the cucumber vitamin c.
If you are a vegetarian, try a feel-good fruit and spinach salad with baby spinach, a blend of fresh raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries, bleu cheese, walnuts, and a raspberry vinaigrette dressing. The spinach, bleu cheese, and walnuts provide selenium, tyrosine, tryptophan, iodine, and omega-3. The berries provide a boost of vitamin C and other antioxidants.
For breakfast, consider oatmeal made with wheat germ, bananas and walnuts. Or toast made from bread fortified with B vitamins, and a boiled egg, rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Try a snack of B vitamin-fortified wheat bread, with a dark chocolate spread or sesame butter.
If you are looking for something exotic, try a seaweed salad made from steamed seaweed, and garnished with toasted sesame seeds, toasted sesame oil, and soy sauce.
In fact, when it comes to getting your feel-good nutrients, the only limitation is your imagination. A varied, healthy diet will make you feel better both physically and mentally.