Who isn’t looking for happiness?
Happiness is the feeling that results from achieving our goals and allows us to grow into the person we ultimately strive to become.
Happiness is not just an emotion, it is also a choice to set values for oneself; one’s personal growth, health, relationships and most importantly, self acceptance and the realisation of one’s full potential and contribution towards the community. These goals are intrinsic to happiness.
For instance, for me , happiness is doing something that’s personally meaningful. That was the idea behind Diet by Design – to provide happiness through good health.
Hormones act as messengers for our bodies, regulating everything from our physical functioning to our emotional well-being.
The human body has specific “feel good” hormones that boost mood, promote emotional health, alleviate anxiety, relieve stress and depressive symptoms.
These “happy” and “feel good” hormones include:
Dopamine, known as the “happy hormone” is a neurotransmitter that is part of the brain’s reward system. Dream about fulfilling the purpose of life and the steps you take to accomplish that purpose will give you dopamine.
*How to Boost Dopamine?*
▫️Dopamine is synthesised from amino acids, foods rich in tyrosine.
To make dopamine, one should consume foods such as:
Eggs, meat with low fat content, almonds, bananas, avocados, beans, fish and good quality chicken.
▫️Listen to Music. It is no surprise that listening to music can increase happy feelings, improve mood, boost energy and help with focus and concentration. Research has shown that much of this is achieved due to increased dopamine levels.
Serotonin plays a key role in keeping off anxiety and depression and is a “mood stabilizer”. When serotonin levels are normal, you will feel more focused, calmer, less anxious and generally happier.
According to medical science, 95% of the body’s serotonin is produced in the gut and acts in two ways:
▫️Neurotransmitter ➡️ communicates 🔁 enteric nervous system.
▫️Released into the bloodstream 🔁 act as a hormone on the body’s tissues.
*How to boost serotonin naturally?*
🔸Eating foods that are gut friendly and support gut microbes such as:
Apples, cranberries, oats, wheat, garlic, onions and citrus fruits.
🔸Add more foods that contain tryptophan naturally, an essential amino acid the body uses to produce serotonin.
Foods that are rich in tryptophan are:
Salmon, nuts, soybeans, turkey and pineapple.
🔸Make time for exercise, yoga and meditation in sunlight, which increases brain serotonin function.
Best known for its role in bonding and attachment, important for childbirth and lactation.
Interestingly, production of oxytocin in the brain and body also boosts the production of dopamine and serotonin.
Hugging your loved ones, laughing with family and friends, giving and receiving compliments are some of the gestures where oxytocin is released.
Boosting oxytocin is pretty simple, spending time with your family and community around you.
Endorphins are hormones that function as pain killers by inhibiting the transmission of pain signals.
High cardio exercises are the best possible way to boost endorphins. “Runner’s high” is a term caused by a big rush of endorphins after an intense cardio exercise.
However, cardio is not the only way to boost endorphins. They can also be boosted by:
Laughing with a friend, eating dark chocolate and watching a comedy movie.
While there’s no sure shot way to boost “happy” hormones, there are some activities that can boost each hormone by eating healthy, exercising and meditation.
Which of these will you try today?
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Sadia Salman is a certified nutritionist from Tufts University, USA and the CEO of Diet by Design. She has over 9 years of experience in treating patients with various health issues through food both in Pakistan and in Canada. Most of her work is on managing diseases like hypertension, cholesterol, diabetes etc through weight management. She believes in building a healthy community by educating the masses in any capacity that she can. Her health blogs are a part of her awareness campaign.