How the body regulates mood, appetite and sleep

Sleeping Peanut

If you checked out yesterdays post (Your gut has feelings too) you are probably aware of the fact that the gut might have something to do with today’s title :)

I’m amazed with the body’s ability to influence us through the gut. I have to honestly say I haven’t really paid too much attention to this aspect until recently after I have had my share of issues with hunger and poor sleep.

Serotonin is the key word for regulating mood, appetite and sleep. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is based in the gut. 90% of its function is to regulate intestinal movements and the remaining 10% will be taking care of mood, appetite, sleep, memory and learning. So for instance when we humans smell food we immediately release dopamine to increase appetite (dopamine regulates the brain’s reward and pleasure center).

What we eat will obviously affect our serotonin levels directly. How can one increase its serotonin levels? By eating protein rich foods like chicken, tuna, liver etc but also some fruits like dates, papaya and banana.If you struggle with depression, insomnia, anxiety, over eating or inability to concentrate you might give eating more serotonin containing foods a try like red meat, nuts, seeds, legumes, tuna, shellfish, and turkey.

Do you want to know more about the gut as our second brain? Check out this great article on the topic http://www.scientificamerican.com

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