Have you noticed how when we are happy we don’t even think about food. Or how can a very small amount satisfy us? How can we hardly eat after a long day out in the sun? It is as if our sunny mood feeds us.
The study of this phenomenon is the basis of the serotonin diet. According to her, the most important thing to lose weight is to enjoy life, to spend your days in joy and to have enough energy. Sounds great doesn’t it? But how to achieve it?
The easiest way to lose weight is to ‘feed your brain’, says Dr. Judith Yurtman, head of large-scale research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She co-authored the book The Power of the Serotonin Diet with her colleague Nina Frustacher.
According to her, when serotonin levels are balanced, we lose extra pounds imperceptibly. And when the levels happen to fall, as often happens in the afternoon, it leads to an uncontrollable hunger to eat something sweet and tasty, the more harmful, the better. Some doctors make the connection between the worst type of obesity – in the abdomen and waist, namely the lack of serotonin.
What is serotonin
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that has a huge impact on our mood and appetite. Serotonin is the so-called hormone of joy and its high levels create a feeling of well-being. Conversely, low serotonin levels are among the leading causes of depression and depressive disorders. It is also one of the important factors of the development of anxiety.
Diet to increase serotonin
In fact, there are no foods rich in serotonin or those containing serotonin. The amino acid tryptophan stimulates the formation of serotonin. Therefore, the consumption of foods rich in tryptophan guarantees our good mood through the formation of serotonin.
Foods rich in tryptophan are dairy, oily fish, rich in omega-3, chicken, eggs, soy, spinach, oats, fruits, especially in bananas and pineapples, nuts and seeds, bread and dark chocolate. Of all the types of alcohol, serotonin is increased only by dry red wine.
There is research that absorbing trypophane from food and then it to reach the brain is not so easy, and to ensure it, it is good to combine foods rich in trypophane with slow carbohydrates, such as wholemeal bread with turkey, salmon with brown rice, soy with noodles or wholemeal pasta, plenty sprinkled with parmesan.
Conversely, easily digestible empty carbohydrates, as well as strict protein diets, coffee and alcohol reduce serotonin levels.
Stress and serotonin
Stress, especially if you have to juggle many things at once, causes serotonin starvation. This means that you need even more serotonin.
How to eliminate stress? You can achieve this with more movement and aerobic exercise, as well as with walks in the sun and in nature. Light therapy is a common remedy for seasonal depression. Studies show a clear link between exposure to bright light and serotonin levels. When sunlight is low, especially during the winter months, we can help ourselves with vitamins and minerals that have a beneficial effect on the nervous system: B-vitamins and magnesium.
Breathing practices, meditation and motor exercises such as yoga and others. they also have an exceptional and proven positive effect on health and in particular on overcoming stress.
When these possibilities are severely limited, for example in the winter and in a quarantine situation when we cannot leave the house, the adoption of adaptogens such as ashwagandha can be a real lifeline.
Serotonin and the Mediterranean diet
Does all this remind you of something? Personally, all these recommendations tell me that if I follow the Mediterranean diet and a sunny lifestyle, I will ensure high levels of tryptophan and serotonin, respectively.
Enjoy life and eat with pleasure!