Do you ever feel sad or irritable for no reason? What about feeling anxious, unfocused, or worried? All these can be linked to brain neurotransmitters being out of balance. Your mental state is affected greatly by your brain chemistry. When your brain transmitters are balanced, you can think more clearly, feel happier, and experience greater well-being. Some people have a sunny outlook on life, but others struggle to remain positive and even-tempered from day today. Proper neurotransmitter balance is essential for living a brain-healthy life. The better our transmitters operate in balance with each other, the closer we are to having an optimal mental function. Having a balanced brain is especially important during times of higher stress and the holidays when plans often go awry and stress levels are pushed to the boiling point. 3 Ways to Stress Less this Fall: HEALTHY FOODS TO BOOST YOUR MOOD B Y C I N D Y S A N T A A N A
1. Play Some Soothing Tunes Remaining in a blissful state of mind is easier to accomplish when you have a happy tune running through your head. Listen to brain-enhanc- ing music specifically composed to enhance mood, gratitude, energy, focus, motivation, and inspiration. 2. Walk It Off If you need a break from a movie marathon or if you just want to work off that cookie you snuck, taking a walk can be beneficial for you both physically and mentally. Walking can help you clear your mind, decrease anxiety, improve your mood and burn some calories all at the same time. I use this time to allow my mind to flow and be creative. 3. Mood Enhancing Nutrition Due to the Standard American Diet (SAD), many people aren’t receiving proper nutrition from the foods they eat. Convenience foods, fast foods, and highly processed packaged foods have become mainstays in our diet. To fill in the nutritional gap when you’re busy, it’s essential to take the brain and mood-boosting supplements, such as: • 5-HTP In the brain, 5-HTP is readily converted to serotonin to help main- tainmental and emotional well-being, reduce feelings of anxiety, and promote calm and relaxation. • B6 As one of the B complex vitamins, B6 is a metabolic aid that maintains healthy nerve function. Taking B6 during the fall/winter season can be a boon to your health since it helps support the body’s antioxidant defense enzyme network.
• GABA This amino acid regulates the excitability of nerve circuits in the brain and is considered the brain’smain “calming” neurotransmitter. Taking GABA during the holidays can be a huge help, especially when trying to find a parking spot at the mall or standing in line to purchase gifts or food for the holiday meal. • Taurine Taurine, an amino acid that helps stabilize our nerve cell electrical activity, is known as a mood booster. Taking taurine can help to keep the seasons bright. • Tyrosine Tyrosine is required for the production of the neurotransmitter dopa- mine. Having sufficient tyrosine in the brain promotes mental clar- ity in dealing with stress, which always comes in handy in periods of higher stress. Specific foods can be added to your diet to help improve your focus and boost your mood as well. Individuals who are feeling moody are likely to be deficient in various nutrients, including iron, selenium, folate and omega-3 fatty acids. Before you reach for a glass of wine or calorie-laden comfort food, try eating some of these superfoods to boost your mood, hone your focus and improve your mental outlook. 1. Raw Cacao – This is pure, raw chocolate, rich in tryptophan, which is a powerful mood-enhancer and crucial in the production of serotonin (your happy neurotransmitter). Raw chocolate is high in relaxing magnesium, calming anandamide and pleasure-inducing phenylethylamine. Find- ings published in the scientific journal, Nutritional Neuroscience, have
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