Protein, Amino Peptides and Polypeptides
Just for the record, these are all just difficult terms used in commercials to confuse you. Protein has been a hot issue with Atkins-like diets sprouting all over the place (see recent post on the Dukan Diet), though most people have no clue what proteins even are.
Proteins are simply chains of amino acids, nothing more mystical, Iâ€™m afraid. An amino acid is also called a peptide, when you string together some of them you call it a poly-peptide which is nothing but a proteinâ€¦ The interesting bit is what amino acids are in the chain of a protein.
What Are Small Proteins (Peptides) For?
Proteins and peptides can do all sorts of things, adrenaline for example is also a protein and I assume we all know what that doesâ€¦ Smaller proteins like peptides can do a whole range of things especially in the brain. A special type of peptides is called â€˜neurotransmittersâ€™, these regulate communication in the brain but also change your mood and mental state.
Feeling stressed and depressed has detrimental effects on our health, so we really want good substances in our brains. Serotonin for example makes you feel good and happy, while too little of this results in depression. Prozac is a well-known medication that acts by blocking serotonin reuptake–effectively increasing serotonin levels in the brain. Another â€˜goodâ€™ neurotransmitter is dopamine, which is when the brain releases as a reward chemical. If only we could elevate the levels of these substances rightâ€¦?
Eating Yourself to a Good Mood?
Serotonin and Dopamine are created out of two â€˜rawâ€™ amino acids called L-Tryptophan (for serotonin) and Tyrosine (for dopamine). As a bonus L-Tryptophan is also used to create melatonin, the substance that assured a good nightâ€™s sleep. So what foods contain L-Tryptophan? Well pretty much all protein rich foods do though eggs, seeds, fish and meats have the highest content.
If you want to improve your mood, try to incorporate these things into your daily diet:
- High protein foods (become a label reader)
- Limit or restrict high sugar foods
- Drink lots of water!
- Sleep 8 hours a day or more
Good luck, and happy eating!
More Good Mood Food tips here. Â (follow the link)