I see patients in my office every day that would like to address their mood- even if depression and anxiety are not their chief concern. I will often work with them on the basics of diet, correcting nutrient deficiencies, or optimizing digestion/absorption.
One of the most profound changes someone can make, no matter how simple it may seem, is to simply incorporate 20 grams of protein into breakfast. This is not the end-all and be-all of a good diet, BUT it’s an easy change that supports having a foundation to stand on.
Protein works with your biochemistry to make sure serotonin gets made. We know of serotonin as our “happiness hormone.” It is a neurotransmitter that supports us feeling balanced, content, and calm. When your serotonin is made properly, it provides you with the opportunity to feel as happy as you choose to feel.
Let’s talk about serotonin and how to get more of it
I love to teach people how serotonin is made. There’s a lot that goes into making us feel happy, joy, or content (ie mindset vs circumstance, for example). But if we back up for a second and get really scientific about things, I can show you another layer to that happiness. The human body is an incredible machine, and when we understand how it works we can facilitate its best function.
We need the right neurotransmitters firing with the right neurons to feel any emotion. The goal in life is not to be ecstatic all the time- it is to feel the whole range of human emotion.
So what happens if we don’t have those neurotransmitters where we need them when we need them? Life has a grey cloud hanging over it. Take a look. (Of COURSE there’s more to happiness than this, much more, but we’re getting to the scientific foundation here.)
Our end goal is to make serotonin BUT- in order to even begin this biochemical process we need protein. Along the way we also need various nutrients (left hand side) that are co-factors in the reactions (via enzymes shown on right hand side).
There may be several reasons why a person may not be getting adequate protein due to diet, or digestive issues. Many people are eating protein but not breaking it down properly, and we often end up with mood concerns. I won't get into digestive concerns here but they are important and I will write more on this topic in the future.
So start off your day in a way that is going to sustain your energy and support your mood: aim for 20 grams of protein at breakfast. I challenge you to try it for a week and see what happens.
Check out some inspiration here:
By Dr. Krause, ND
All her contact info can be found on www.healthsourceimc.com
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