5 Reasons to go nuts

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5 Reasons to go nuts
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Actually, out of these five reasons to go nuts we can make the only reason – nuts will make you happier. Literally.

There are many things that can make you happy – family, the work you like, travelling, money… But about 70% of your personal happiness is at the end of your fork. Food is directly linked to your brain which creates your “state of happiness”.

Happy Hormones: “DOSE” – Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin, and Endorphins

There are four major “hormones of happiness” – DOSE: Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin, and Endorphins.

5 Reasons to go nuts

Dopamine

Dopamine is a natural opioid drug that our brain injects into the nervous system to ease the pain. The effects of drugs such as cocaine, nicotine or amphetamines are, directly or indirectly, related to an increase of dopamine levels in the brain. But you shouldn’t be a drug addict to boost your dopamine level. You can do it naturally. Since dopamine is synthesized from tyrosine, an amino acid, you can simply eat foods rich in tyrosine – the best injection of the “hormone of happiness”.

Oxytocin

Oxytocin is sometimes called the cuddle hormone because it is released through closeness with another person. But it is not necessarily to hug somebody (especially a beautiful stranger); it can also be triggered through social bonding, like eye contact or a love letter.

Serotonin

If you are in a good mood, you’ve got serotonin to thank; if not – you’ve got serotonin to blame. The major amount of serotonin exists in the intestine, and is governed by your state of hunger. Feel happier after lunch? That’s why. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid and biochemical precursor for serotonin. It cannot be produced in our body and must be part of our daily diet. Serotonin is primarily found in the gastrointestinal tract – about 90% of the human body’s total serotonin is located there. Serotonin also has some cognitive functions, including memory and learning.

Endorphin

Endorphins are our internal opioids – “endogenous morphine” that are produced by the central nervous system and the pituitary gland. Endorphins help relieve pain and induce feelings of pleasure or euphoria. They are released during periods of strenuous exercise, emotional stress and orgasm. Endorphins are neuropeptides and like other proteins, they are synthesized from amino acids. Food does not supply our body with ready-made endorphins; it helps to produce them by providing with amino acids, energy, minerals and vitamins that are required for the endorphin synthesis.

5 Reasons to go nuts

 

5 Reasons to go nuts

Nuts and seeds can greatly improve your mood and increase your tolerance to stress because they are packed with nutrients essential for happy hormones and anti-stress biochemicals productions. So there are five big reasons to eat only a small handful of them per for happier you:

# 1. Zinc

Zinc is required for the function of over 300 enzymes. It plays a crucial role in the synthesis of serotonin, one of four hormones of happiness. Low levels of zinc are common among those suffering from stress. The Daily Value (DV) for zinc is 15mg. Foods providing 20% of the DV are considered to be high sources of this mineral. Zinc is especially important for men’s health. It improves sex drive, testosterone and sperm production and prostate health. The Daily Value for zinc is 15mg. Foods providing 20% of the DV are considered to be high sources of this mineral. A serving of 100g of pumpkin seeds provides 80% of the Daily Value for zinc, making pumpkin seeds one of the best sources of zinc.

# 2. Selenium

Selenium is a core-component of the antioxidant enzymes that activate many processes of free radicals fighting. It has shown that selenium and various selenoproteins improve male reproductive performance and protect against oxidative damage to spermatozoa. It’s important to note that this effect was only associated with selenium obtained from foods, not supplements. If you are a male, snack on one or two Brazil nuts per day. Don’t overdo it, though. Deviation from the optimal content of dietary selenium, both above or below may cause multiple health abnormalities.

Together, zinc and selenium increase “happy hormones” production: Those minerals have been scientifically proven to prevent depression and anxiety. Researchers from the University of Barcelona found that people had higher levels of serotonin metabolites after nut consumption.

# 3. Amino acids

Amino acids are major components in the hundreds of brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters that enable brain cells to communicate with each other. The commonly known neurotransmitters include dopamine, serotonin, acetylcholine, norepinephrine, and endorphins.

  • Amino acid tryptophan is a biochemical precursor for serotonin, which is a well-known hormone of happiness. Serotonin produces your happiness, and tryptophan produces serotonin. The recommended daily intake for tryptophan is 4mg per kilogram of body weight: a person weighing 70kg (about 154 pounds) should consume approximately 280mg of tryptophan per day.
  • Amino acid tyrosine is required for dopamine production. Although dopamine is found in many types of food, it is incapable of crossing the blood–brain barrier that surrounds and protects the brain. Therefore, it must be synthesized inside the brain from tyrosine. The recommended daily intake for phenylalanine and tyrosine is 25mg per kilogram of body weight, or 11mg per pound.

# 4. B Vitamins

B Vitamins have been called the “happy vitamins” or “anti-stress vitamins” because they can improve your mood and increase your tolerance to stress.

  • Thiamine (Vitamin B1) is important in keeping the nervous system healthy and plays a vital role in maintaining a healthy mental attitude. It can help stabilize mood and improve memory and concentration. Sunflower seeds and macadamias are one of the best sources of B1. Vitamin B1 is on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines, the most effective and safe medicines needed in a health system.
  • Niacin (Vitamin B3) supports the functions of the nervous and digestive system. The body can produce niacin from the amino acid L-tryptophan. A deficiency in B3 can cause depression, irritability, stress and mood disturbances.
  • Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6) is crucial for dopamine and serotonin production, which aids the body’s ability to cope with depression, stress and anxiety. B6 may also help boost the immune system during times of anxiety.
  • Folic Acid (Vitamin B9) strengthens memory and concentration while preventing Alzheimer’s disease.

# 5. Magnesium

The body uses magnesium in over 300 different biochemical reactions. It is of utmost importance for the healthy brain, the brain “master mineral”. It calms down our nerves helping to regulate nerve and muscle tone. It counterbalances calcium and blocking calcium’s entry, magnesium keeps our nerves relaxed. Yet, according to the USDA, an estimated 57% of Americans are deficient in this important mineral. A 100-gram serving of pumpkin seeds provides 155% of magnesium daily value!

5 Reasons to go nuts

Make your “Happy Handful” snack mix

The “Happy Handful” of nuts and seeds is an easy and delicious way to shape up and feel fantastic. Health authorities of Canada and United States recommend 1.5oz of nuts per day for an adult (or 42 grams, or roughly 1/3 cup, or a small handful). (100g = 3.5oz)

A handful a day keeps your sadness away:

  1. Brazil Nuts – 100g: 7-day supply; 3-4 nuts per day (1 Brazil nut = 5g)
  2. Cashews – 100g: 7-day supply; 5 nuts per day
  3. Pistachios – 100g: 7-day supply; 15 kernels per day
  4. Pumpkin Seeds – 100g: 7-day supply; 1 tablespoon per day
  5. Sunflower Seeds – 100g: 7-day supply; 1 tablespoon per day

However, the happiness diet is not a one-week project, it’s a lifestyle.

Nutrients these nuts and seeds are good for

  • BRAZIL NUTS for selenium – 770%DV (SUPER RICH), thiamine (vitamin B1) – 19%DV, magnesium – 35%DV, manganese – 25%DV, phosphorus – 35%DV
  • CASHEWS for riboflavin (vitamin B2) – 28%DV, vitamin E – 58%DV, copper – 37%DV, iron – 17%DV, magnesium – 25%DV, manganese – 31%DV, phosphorus – 28%DV, zinc – 20%DV
  • PISTACHIOS for thiamine (vitamin B1) – 25%DV, vitamin B6 – 43%DV, manganese – 65%DV, phosphorus – 23%DV
  • PUMPKIN SEEDS for amino acid arginine – 2g/oz, amino acid tryptophan – 161mg/oz (28g) or 58%DV (the best source of tryptophan ever), iron – 20%DV, magnesium – 51%DV, manganese – 70%DV, phosphorus – 56%DV, zinc – 27%DV (one of the best sources of zinc)
  • SUNFLOWER SEEDS for thiamine (vitamin B1) – 48%DV, niacin (vitamin B3) – 19%DV, folate (vitamin B9) – 19%DV, vitamin E – 78%DV, magnesium – 30%DV, manganese – 31%DV, phosphorus – 31%DV

NOTES:

**Values and percentages are based on the USDA Nutrient Database

**Values and percentages are approximate based on the USDA Nutrient Database

**Percent Daily Value (%DV) is a guide to the nutrients in one serving of food. For example, 40% for protein means that one serving provides 40% of the protein you need each day. It helps you make informed food choices. DVs are based on a 2,000-calorie diet for healthy adults.

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