Tuesday, June 17, 2014

How is food related to stress?

 Food and Brain Chemistry

So how is food related to stress?  Eating affects our brain chemistry.  Being on a diet or under stress can cause a reaction in some brain chemicals.  Here are five different chemicals in our brain and what they do:
        1)  Serotonin – When you have a lot of stress, serotonin levels in the brain drop.  Serotonin is in the eating and sleeping part of the brain.  You want to have a lot of serotonin in your brain because it helps you relax and feel peaceful. 
        2)  Dopamine – comforts us and helps us to feel good.
        3)  Endorphins – This is another chemical that also helps us to feel good.  It is released into the brain when we eat sugary food.
            4)  Beta-endorphins – This chemical makes us want to eat more.  When we have a lot of this chemical in our brain, it is hard to stop eating. 
        5)  Dynorphin – When you have a lot of stress, this chemical make you feel hungry or have empty feelings.

        When we have a lot of stress our serotonin levels are low.  Our body foolishly tells us to eat sugar and starch so we can make more serotonin fast.  Serotonin is naturally made in our body when we eat proteins and foods high in niacin, such as chicken, turkey, fish, nuts, whole grains and beans.  Exercise raises the levels of serotonin, dopamine and endorphins in our brain.  We need the chemicals in our brain so we will feel good.  The best way to feel good is to exercise and eat right and that means eating healthy proteins, fruits, and vegetables instead of getting a quick fix from sugars and starches which do not make us feel so good in the long run. 

What do you do for exercise every day? ______________________

What is your favorite snack food?  ___________________________

Giant Cupcake for Father's Day!