Whatever we put in our body affects our physical health. When we eat something bad, we get ill. Something good, we feel rejuvenated. It is like “garbage in, garbage out,” a term used in the Information Technology world to describe a fact wherein when a bad command is inputted to a computer, a bad result will come out.But you know, aside from the physical effects we feel when we ear, our mood and emotion are also subjected to changes. Consequently, proper nutrition affects our emotional, physical and metal states. When our body is in its optimal condition, we feel not just physical but also emotional well-being that is necessary for happiness.
Doctors often advice that changing our diet to a healthy one facilitates mental and emotional cleansing; that is letting us free from toxins that one way or another is linked to having negative thoughts. After which, we will feel blooming, enthusiastic and fresh.
Going to the path of a healthy diet for happiness is easy although we also need to compromise. To do it, one must recognize they are malnourished – lacking vital nutrients in the body – although most people will not admit.
Raw and Fresh
One way to go healthy is by eating fresh, raw foods. These foods contain everything intact: nutrients, mineral, vitamins, proteins, enzymes, etc that is optimized for absorption in the body. Granted that some people find eating raw food a bit weird, cooking actually decreases and in most cases kills most of the good elements in the food. Although it is unavoidable to eat cooked food because of sanitary and health reasons, you can supplement the depleted nutrients by eating organic foods like cheese and yogurt which does not need cooking. Also, lightly steamed vegetables do the part.
One of the most important elements in food that our body needs is the enzyme. Enzymes are substances produced by a living organism which produces changes in other substances without being changed itself. It also assists in chemical processes in the body.
Enzymes have a very important role in our system by controlling and improving our mood though the neurotransmitters. It also helps in digesting the nutrients in our body which detoxifies repairs and regenerated the body’s cellular system.
By improving the enzymes in our body, our neurotransmitters are also affected positively.
Neurotransmitters are hormones or chemicals found in the brain that supports the transmission of information from a neuron to a cell. Decreased levels of this causes various mood disorders and in some cases, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and autism in children.
The body has several neurotransmitters necessary for mood and emotional function. Let’s just focus on those necessary for attaining happiness. These are Serotonin, Dopamine, Norepinephrine, Endorphins, Enkephalins, Phenylalanine and Gamma Amino Butyric Acid (GABA).
One of the most important is Serotonin: This influences mood and gives us a sense of well-being. Serotonin also makes us feel relaxed and optimistic. Having decreased levels of this causes irritability, insomnia, negative feelings, loss of focus in life and depression.
To get good serotonin levels, one must eat foods rich in calcium and folate. Calcium can be found in orange, banana, lemon, spinach, broccoli, asparagus and cabbage and in several nut varieties like macadamia, cashew and walnut. On the other hand, folate can be found in kiwi, strawberry, carrots, avocado and peas.
Seafood is also a good source of Omega 3, a serotonin enhancer. It is found not just in fishes but also in flaxseed and sunflower seeds.
Another neurotransmitter is Dopamine. This is responsible for alertness, feelings of excitement, pleasure and mental sharpness. Low levels of this cause apathy -numbness of feelings. Dopamine can be found in soy-based products like tofu and Soya milk.
Third is Norepinephrine which is responsible for motivation, energy and drive of a person. Low levels of this cause depression and the lack of ambition in life. Eating green vegetables and soy products helps in norepinephrine production.
Another important and highly regarded neurotransmitter is the Endorphine. Normally, this is association with body builders and athletes as this is usually produced and released by the body when a person is involved in physical activities such as dancing and exercising. Endorphins cause feeling of extreme happiness: euphoria.
Other neurotransmitters are Enkephalins which gives pain relief, Phenylalanine that causes one to be motivated, and GABA which is responsible for feelings of calmness and relaxation. Lacking these three neurotransmitters causes one to feel unfulfilled, insecure, restlessness and anxiety. Foods like wheat, fish, seeds and cacao are good sources for the production of these.
Vitamins and Minerals
Aside from the neurotransmitters, vitamins and minerals are also responsible for a feeling of bliss.
Vitamin B6 is important in normal nerve function. Without this, one suffers from irritability, dizziness and confusion. Bananas and avocados are good sources of this vitamin.
Folate, on the other hand, is responsible for normal brain function. Low levels of this cause the serotonin levels to decrease. Asparagus, beans and sunflower seeds are rich in folate.
Chromium, which is found in seafood, eggs, cheese and dairy products promotes regulated blood sugar levels, improved metabolism and prevents Attention Deficit Disorder, anxiety and depression.
Magnesium causes one to avoid depression, anxiety and insomnia. Kiwi fruit, cacao, apples and bananas are rich in this feel-good vitamin.
Be a Vegan
If you can see in the news lately, celebrities are posing nearly naked with just a few large lettuce leaves covering their private parts, apparently, they are for a good cause of being a vegetarian. Studies show that being a vegetarian – a strict one – helps in the detoxification of the body. Also, animal meat is full of toxins that are released when they feel intense pain and fear when they are to be slaughtered.
One reason to be a good follower of vegetarianism is that it is proven that vegans are among the healthiest people on earth. They also live longer and less prone to disease. That is enough reason for happiness!
Happiness does not need to be an arduous task, just the pleasure we get from eating benefits us in many ways – that if we eat healthily!