IMPORTANCE OF GOOD FOOD FOR GOOD MOOD:

5 Brain Chemicals that may affect student’s decision to overeat

Brain chemicals, called neurotransmitters, allow messages to pass from one cell to the next and are essential for communication between brain cells. Brain chemicals regulate student’s mood and mental energy, alertness, focus and calmness. The quality of student’s lives is highly determined by our brain chemistry.

There’s a specific area of the upper brain, called the orbitofrontal cortex, that’s heavily involved in student’s ability to regulate our emotions, impulses and behaviours. This area has a dense network of connections to the lower brain structures, where student’s most primitive emotions like rage and fear are generated, and the brain stem, where student’s physiological body states are managed.

This area of the brain is at the centre of student’s reward and motivation system, and it contains a large supply of the reward chemicals—endorphins and dopamine—associated with soothing, calm, joy and pleasure.

ENDORPHINS: MOLECULES OF EMOTION

Endorphins alleviate physical and emotional pain and facilitate emotional bonding. If a student has ever had a serious injury and didn’t feel pain immediately, they can thank their endorphins for the same.

When student’s levels of this natural pain reliever (named for its resemblance to morphine) are low, they may find that they’re highly sensitive to both emotional and physical pain. They seem to feel pain more than others do. Perhaps they cry at the drop of a hat. Stress can deplete student’s scanty levels of endorphins even further.

Drug-like components in foods such as refined flours and sugars, can attach to student’s brain-cell receptor sites and take the place of their natural brain chemicals. As a student’s brain perceives these receptor sites as full, it produces less of their natural chemicals. This partly explains the vicious cycle many overeaters know so well: cravings, indulgence, relief and more cravings.

DOPAMINE: ENERGY AND FOCUS

Student’s main energizing brain chemical is called dopamine. It’s like Student’s natural caffeine. It promotes a sense of satisfaction, drives assertiveness and pumps up their libido.

Some overeaters have been born with an altered gene that also results in lower production of dopamine.

When Student’s dopamine levels are low, they may be attracted to stimulating substances like coffee, tea, Soda, chocolate. Student’s may also have cravings for sweets, starches and foods and drinks sweetened with aspartame.

SEROTONIN: A SENSE OF WELL-BEING

Another key brain chemical is serotonin. When Student’s have enough of this important chemical, their mood tends to be stable (assuming Student’s other brain chemicals are in balance).

Low serotonin levels can make Student’s feel anxious, panicky, irritable, agitated, cranky, constantly worried or depressed.

Student’s may suffer digestive difficulties, since a large percentage of the serotonin in their body is in their gut (which has been called the second brain). Student’s might find it difficult to get a good night’s sleep, as serotonin is converted to melatonin, the so-called sleep hormone.

Low serotonin levels play a role in food obsession, compulsive binge eating and exercise addiction. If Student’s find that they’re drawn to high-carbohydrate snacks in the late afternoon and evening, it may be because their serotonin production is dropping.

GABA: SOOTHING EMOTIONAL ERUPTIONS

GABA, or gamma-aminobutyric acid, is probably the least-known brain chemical. It’s Student’s natural Valium, and it helps them feel relaxed. It’s called an inhibitory neurotransmitter because it turns off certain kinds of brain reactions, such as the production of excitatory chemicals like adrenaline.

When GABA levels are low, Student’s may experience mood disturbances and cravings for comfort food—particularly sweets and fatty foods.

GLUTAMINE: SWEET CRAVINGS AND GOOD DIGESTION

Glutamine, the most abundant amino acid in the muscle and plasma of humans, is a stimulating, excitatory organic substance that acts like a brain chemical.

Traditionally considered a nonessential amino acid, it now appears to be an essential nutrient in the body’s response to stress, injury or illness. It’s critical for optimal brain function, boosting mood, increasing alertness and enhancing memory. It also increases libido and facilitates digestion.

When Student’s are under stress, the right amount of glutamine can stop their sugar cravings and save the adrenal glands from overworking. The brains of sugar addicts tend to be low in this important organic substance.

Sneha k

Nutritionist at Campus Students Communities

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