#soulfood – Eating does more to us than just making us feel satiated. Surely you, too, have had joyful feelings or felt truly satisfied after a meal.

Or just the opposite: Have you ever fallen into a food coma after a heavy lunch and were then of no use at all? Do you use chocolate as your personal comfort blanket? Who is not familiar with those weak moments that are triggered by a professional or personal stress situation and end in consummate gluttony?

— This month we’ll be diving deeper into the topic “soul food”, and more specifically examine the question of how certain foods and more conscious eating can impact on our well-being and performance. As always, we’ll also provide you with practical tips and useful background knowledge, without leading you by the nose. —

In the mood for food?

Hardly any other issue is so closely connected to our emotions and feelings as enjoyment through eating. Does that mean that we can eat ourselves happy? We’ll be looking at this question today. The definite ambiguous answer is: Yes and No. If only things were so simple. But the sobering truth is that no single banana will trigger an intense rush of happiness. 

However, it is true that certain foods contain high levels of tryptophan…trypto-what? Actually, it’s quite simple: tryptophan is an amino acid from which the body forms the happiness hormone serotonin. Our bodies can also produce serotonin by themselves, namely in the so-called enterochromaffin cells of the intestine and in nerve cells of the brain — but sometimes that’s not enough. A lower serotonin level goes hand in hand with bad moods — in contrast, high serotonin secretion makes us feel optimistic and happy! Foods with a high content of tryptophan can boost your serotonin levels and therefore your spirits, since the tryptophan is converted into serotonin in the brain, from where its full effect can be released. 

Tryptophan in food: can you eat yourself happy?

The following delicacies, for example, contain lots of tryptophan:

  • Cheese types like Parmesan or Emmentaler
  • Cashew nuts
  • Soy beans
  • Tuna
  • Eggs
  • Oatmeal and cottage cheese

If you want to intensify the effect, you should combine these foods with carbohydrates like potatoes, rice or bread. A low-carb diet can be very stressful for your mood levels, as your body produces less serotonin without carbohydrates. 

Also, sugar increases the production of serotonin, however, this you should enjoy in moderation of course (excess weight, caries, diabetes). Chocolate with its high sugar content can thus help you ascend from the depths of a bad mood. Dried fruits are a healthier alternative, as certain types of fruit are also particularly rich in tryptophan. Fruits with the highest amount of tryptophan are for example pineapples, bananas and plums.

Last but not least, here is the ultimate recipe for the perfect start to your day:

Good vibes smoothie

This smoothie is very easy to prepare, seductively fruity and incredibly delicious! Drink up the good vibes!

Ingredients:

1 handful of fresh pineapple 
1 banana 
2 tablespoons dried cherries 
3 tablespoons cottage cheese 
1 squirt lemon juice
1 cup of cold fruit tea

This is how to prepare it: Prepare some fruit tea and let it cool down. Add the peeled banana and pineapple and all the other ingredients to a mixer. Puree everything until smooth. Depending on the desired consistency, you can add more or less fruit tea. All that’s left is to serve it up in a cute glass! Tip, if you have a sweet tooth: add more dried fruit for extra sweetness. Enjoy!

Foods with a high tryptophan content are not a miracle cure for misery or sadness, however they can strengthen your body from the inside and boost your organism. Healthy eating is the essential base for your heart and brain in order to help you reach your full potential.

Next week we’ll be talking about the perks of brain food! So stay tuned!

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