Nourish the Neurotransmitters
Brain growth is fast and complex for a child, making nutrition choices critical for cognitive development.
Healthy food is an essential part of mental health since certain nutrients are needed to synthesize brain chemicals called neurotransmitters.
Neurotransmitters regulate mood and memory. The key to balancing neurotransmitters is consuming a nutritious diet, getting daily exercise, getting quality sleep, and utilizing natural stress management. Imbalances in neurotransmitters are often associated with mood disorders, depression, and anxiety.
Neurotransmitters are the chemical messengers that your body can't function without. They transmit messages between neurons or from neurons to muscles.
Experts have identified over 100 neurotransmitters, and the most important are:
- gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)
Each neurotransmitter is responsible for regulating a specific aspect of the brain, thereby resulting in a more or less alteration of an individual's behavior.
The brain needs neurotransmitters to regulate necessary functions, including:
- heart rate
- muscle movement
- sleep cycles
KidsLuv beverages offer many nutrients to nourish neurotransmitters, especially when paired with a healthy meal.
Let's explore the dietary neurotransmitters and relative food sources for the top 7 neurotransmitters:
Acetylcholine plays an essential role in attention, alertness, learning, and memory. It's found in: bitter orange, common bean, mung bean, nettle species, pea, radish, spinach, squash, wild strawberry.
Dopamine is responsible for one's movement, memory, motivation, mood, attention, etc. It's found in: Avocado, banana, apple, orange, pea, plantain, spinach, tomato, velvet bean.
GABA plays a vital role in cognition, behavior, and the body's response to stress. It's found in: Adzuki bean, barley, broccoli, buckwheat, chestnut, kale, oat, pea, pokeroot, potato, rice, shiitake, soya bean, spinach, sweet potato, tea, tomato, wheat, wild celery.
Glutamate plays a major role in learning and memory. It is the most abundant excitatory neurotransmitter in your brain and central nervous system. It is important not to get too much glutamate as high levels cause increased pain sensations. It's found in: Caviar, cheese, dried cod, fermented beans, meats, miso, mushrooms, oyster sauce, Parmesan cheese, seafood, seaweeds, spinach, tomato, and tomato sauce.
Serotonin is responsible for good moods and feeling calm. It's found in: Bananas, chicory, cabbage, green coffee bean, green onion, hazelnut, kiwi, lettuce, nettle, paprika, passion fruit, pawpaw, pepper, pineapple, plantain, plum, pomegranate, potato, spinach, strawberry, tomato, velvet bean, wild rice.
Histamine is a neuromodulator. It regulates the release of other neurotransmitters, like acetylcholine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. It communicates to the brain, triggers the release of stomach acid for digestion, and is produced as a local immune response to allergens. Too much histamine in the body causes unwanted health issues. It's found in: Anchovy, dandelion, ham, cured dry meat products, herring, ketchup, aged cheeses, nettle, sardine, sauerkraut, tuna, mackerel, soybean, sweet or sour cream, pasteurized, and fresh milk, yogurt.
Norepinephrine is a neurotransmitter that affects mood, attention, and motivation. The amino acid tyrosine is necessary to produce norepinephrine and is found in the following foods: almonds, bananas, avocados, dairy products, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and lima beans.
Neurotransmitters are the chemical messengers that communicate between neurons in your body, causing an action or reaction of a specific nerve and an integral player in mental health and cognitive abilities.
It is essential to keep these neurotransmitters balanced to assist your body in reaching total wellness of mind and body. Living a healthy lifestyle with nutritious foods, quality sleep, proper exercise, and mindful stress reduction strategies is vital for every aspect of life.
Nancy Guberti is a Functional Medicine Specialist, Nutritionist, Author, and passionate about empowering others to become their health advocate. She is the founder of Total Wellness Empowerment Membership & Podcast, Look and Feel Great Method, and Total Wellness Empowerment Institute. Learn more & be empowered at nancyguberti.com.