Monday, December 15, 2008


There's lots of people in this world who spend so much time watching their health that they haven't the time to enjoy it.
~Josh Billings

If we give the above quote a thought then we will understand that people though spend a good number of time and money to stay healthy in today’s world but are they really happy? Happiness is most important, of all human endeavors. It is the single most sought-after thing in the world. It’s a commodity that’s valuable to everyone. But are there any “secrets” to achieving happiness?
Several studies have been made which links human happiness to chemistry. Experts revealed that a person can change how he thinks and feels by changing what he puts into his mouth. The kind of food that we eat can actually affect the chemical composition of our brain and eventually influence our mood. Thinking is a biochemical process. For brain cells to communicate effectively with each other to create neural pathways, they require chemicals called neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are the 'messengers' carrying messages from neuron to neuron.
Neurotransmitters are made from amino acids found in protein foods e.g., meat, fish and cheese.
Vitamins and minerals are needed to convert ordinary amino acids into these powerful neurotransmitters. Certain substances or elements found in food have the ability to alter the production or release of neurotransmitters. Serotonin is an example of a neurotransmitter or chemical messenger that transmits our thoughts and actions to the brain.

Serotonin is sometimes called our ‘satisfaction’ brain chemical because, in addition to giving us a sense of well-being, if levels are normal then we don’t feel the need to overeat sugary and refined carbohydrate foods which give us a short term serotonin boost, at the expense of a sharp drop-off soon after.
We make serotonin from an amino acid (protein building block) called tryptophan. By eating tryptophan rich foods we can naturally boost levels of serotonin. Tryptophan is not as widely distributed in our foods as other amino acids, and it is found mainly in: turkey, chicken, fish, pheasant, partridge, cottage cheese, bananas, eggs, nuts, wheat germ, avocados, milk, cheese and the legumes (beans, peas, pulses, soya), and there are also smaller amounts in breads, cereals, potatoes and rice. Because tryptophan is such a large molecule, other more easily absorbed amino acids actively compete with it. In order to divert them, and encourage the uptake of tryptophan it is helpful moderately raise insulin levels by eating starchy foods, such as brown rice, whole meal bread, porridge oats and jacket potatoes, alongside the protein foods.
If brain serotonin levels are low then it can be tempting to reach for foods, and substances, which will temporarily give us a boost. These include sugary foods, refined carbohydrates (such as crisps, white bread, white rice and other processed foods), and alcohol. The problem with these foods is that they perpetuate the cycle of cravings. Normalising serotonin levels is probably one of the most important, and most ignored, means of reducing the need to binge-eating and drink.
While serotonin is the messenger, it is necessary for the message to be received. The brain chemical receptors are built principally from vital fats which include EPA and DHA. These two are found mainly in oily fish, such as mackerel, salmon, tuna, herrings and sardines, and also fish oil supplements, cold-pressed flax and walnut oils. In many cases it has been seen that depression has been shown to be significantly improved by introducing these fats daily, over three or four months.
So now you know what kind of food can elevate your mood so make a good balance and be happy.
Realize that happiness lies within you. The time to be happy is now and the place to be happy is here.

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