We crave sweet foods because our body needs glucose to fuel the cells. That’s great… let’s eat some Oreo’s! No, no, no… wait a minute. We need that sugar to arrive a little bit at a time, not all at once. There is another reason for that craving. It turns out that the sugar releases serotonin that has a powerful elevating affect on our mood. MIT researchers have determined that individuals with low blood levels of serotonin may suffer from depression, insomnia and unusually aggressive behavior. Not good!
A regular supply of serotonin released into the bloodstream makes you feel better, more productive and less stressed. Cravings for sugary foods are an attempt by the brain to make it “feel” better. The problem is that refined sugars don’t offer any nutrients and the “feel good” feeling is replaced by nutritional stress. Oh, wow! This sounds like a roller coaster ride. We need to know how to keep the serotonin levels up consistently. So… how do we do that?
Serotonin is created from amino acids, namely tryptophan which is one of the essential amino acids. We talked about amino acids in the Third Session and discovered that we can consume it easily by eating corn, rice, beans/legumes, wheat and potatoes. That’s good… those are the real comfort foods.
What else can we do to increase serotonin? One thing is to get out into the sun. Light that passes through our eyes increases serotonin levels. Also, numerous studies have shown that exercise increases serotonin; especially aerobics, running and cycling. If you don’t feel like exercising the reason may be due to a low level of serotonin.That’s tricky… so what else can we do? Well, thinking positive thoughts about who you are and what you have available to you can increase serotonin levels. How amazing is it that God gave us sunlight, carbohydrates and good thoughts to think that causes a chemical to elevate our mood? It makes it so easy to…