Good Mood Food
and Types of Neurotransmitters

Good mood food are foods that create the right balance between the inhibitory neurotransmitters and the excitatory neurotransmitters.

Which are both involved with setting the right mood.

There are many neurotransmitters, but only two types of neurotransmitters that are really involved with good mood food.

Inhibitory neurotransmitters are largely associated with relieving anxiety and stress.

Excitatory neurotransmitters are stimulating which is required for focus.

Signs of Neurotransmitter Imbalances

Neurotransmitters are your chemical messengers and people that have a neurotransmitter imbalance usually turn to addictive behaviors instead of relying on effective good mood foods.

  • Addiction to Sugar & Carbohydrates
  • Addiction to Nicotine
  • Addiction to Drugs (legal & illegal)
  • Addiction to Alcohol
  • Addiction to Caffeine
  • Depression & Restlessness
  • Impulsive Behaviors & Eating Disorders
  • Poor Concentration & Learning Skills
  • Adrenal Fatigue & Chronic Pain

Good Mood Food - Inhibitory Neurotransmitter

Serotonin is one of the most well known inhibitory neurotransmitters and is love's most important chemical.

Serotonin is necessary for achieving a balanced mood and to balance the excessive amounts of the excitatory type of neurotransmitters.

Serotonin is also turned into melatonin in your pineal gland and is needed for a good nights sleep.

It is made from an amino acid called tryptophan.  Tryptophan is also converted into vitamin B3 by your liver and vitamin B3 is usually deficient in people with a lot of stress.

Low tryptophan levels can lead to low levels of serotonin production and this could lead to health problems such as depression, insomnia, and weight gain.

Other amino acids such as tyrosine (makes dopamine), isoleucine, and leucine compete with tryptophan which could also lead to low tryptophan levels.

Foods High in Tryptophan

  • Animal Proteins such as Turkey, Buffalo, Elk, Beef, Venison, and Pork
  • Dairy such as Milk and Swiss Cheese
  • Seafood such as King Crab, Queen Crab, Blue Crab, Shrimp, and Scallops
  • Seeds such as Flax Seeds and Sesame Seeds
  • Nuts such as Almonds, Walnuts, and Chestnuts
  • Vegetables such as Asparagus, Spinach, Eggplant, and Mustard Greens
  • Fruit such as Avocado, Dates, Figs, and Pineapples
  • Legumes such as Mung Beans, Kidney Beans, Cashews, and Garbanzo Beans
  • Grains such as Red Rice, Brown Rice, and Oats

Good Mood Food - Excitatory Neurotransmitters

Dopamine is actually both an inhibitory and excitatory neurotransmitter. This chemical stimulates both desire and pleasure.

Dopamine is similar to adrenaline and an imbalance of this neurotransmitter is very much associated with addictions.

With low levels of dopamine you will not be able to focus.  On the other hand, with high levels of dopamine your focus may become too intense.

Too much dopamine can increase your sense of hearing, vision, smell, taste, and touch. You will also be prone to misinterpreting your experiences when dopamine levels are too "high".

Drugs such as caffeine, nicotine, and cocaine will significantly increase your levels of dopamine which can then result in feelings of paranoia and suspicious thoughts - or locking yourself up in a bathroom!

Dopamine is made from the amino acids phenylalanine and tyrosine. Phenylalanine is the precursor to tyrosine which is the main amino acid required for dopamine production.

Foods that Help to Create Dopamine

dopamine food

  • Fish such as Salmon, Mackerel, Tuna, Sardines, Halibut, Striped Bass, and Trout
  • Animal Proteins such as Red Meats, Chicken, and Eggs
  • Dairy such as Cheddar Cheese, Yogurt, and Cottage Cheese
  • Chocolate such as Dark Chocolate
  • Legumes such as Peanuts and Lima Beans
  • Grains such as Wheat Germ
  • Blue Green Algae such as Spirulina
  • Fruits such as Bananas, Apples, Watermelon, Prunes, Strawberry, and Blueberry 
  • Vegetables such as Kale, Beets, Broccoli, Leafy Greens, and Cauliflower

The Main Excitatory Neurotransmitter

Glutamate is an amino acid that is one of the main excitatory neurotransmitters. 

Also glutamate along with complex carbohydrates increases GABA (a Major inhibitory neurotransmitter).

MSG is another substance high in glutamate (free glutamate or free glutamic acid) and we all know by now how this unnatural substance can excite your brain cells to death.

Natural glutamate is found abundantly in animal foods as well as in certain plant foods.  Glutamate is required for both learning and a functioning memory.

Low levels of glutamate will lead to poor brain activity and high levels can deplete your glutathione levels which could then lead to neuron destruction.

Interestingly enough, plant foods that contain glutamate such as the tomato will have much more free glutamate when they become very ripe or cooked for too long.

Foods high in bound glutamate such as animal foods will become a big problem when you cook them for too long or process them in a way that creates free glutamate.

Consuming too much free glutamate (especially chemically processed) can actually cause depolarization of your brain cells and create calcium blockages in your cell membranes.

These foods tend to be highly processed and will usually contain a high amount of free glutamate......

Ultra-pasteurized dairy, commercial parmesan cheese, commercial fish sauce, commercial soy sauce, dried kelp, and hydrolyzed plant foods (soy burgers, etc.)

Foods High in "Natural" Glutamate

  • Dairy such as Aged Cheese and Hard Cheese
  • Animal Proteins such as Rabbit, Poultry, and Organ Meats
  • Seafood such as Oysters and Fish
  • Seeds such as Sunflower and Pumpkin
  • Grains such as Wheat, Barley, and Oats
  • Legumes such as Soybeans, Lentils, Black Beans, Navy Beans, Peanuts, and Cashews
  • Nuts such as Pistachios and Almonds
  • Plant Foods such as Tomatoes, Corn, Peas, Nori Seaweed, and Shitake Mushrooms

When you have an Imbalance....

Many people that have a neurotransmitter imbalance will resort to drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, drinking coffee, and taking other drugs.

The problem with this scenario is that these substances seem to only temporarily fix the symptoms of a neurotransmitter imbalance by giving someone an artificial high.

And the catch is that this habit will then damage and create more of an imbalance with your neurotransmitters.  In the long run, it is a much better idea to rely on good mood foods to create the "right high".

Good Mood Food Tips

Carbohydrates can help to clear the way for tryptophan by eliminating competing amino acids, but excessive amounts of sugar or carbohydrates will be detrimental to the two types of neurotransmitters in the long run.

Vegans and strict vegetarians are at great risk of creating a neurotransmitter imbalance when their diets are too low in protein and too high in carbohydrates.

And people who consume high amounts of cooked and processed animal foods, will be at great risk of exciting their system to unsafe levels.

Eating more raw foods can help the two types of neurotransmitters as cooking your foods will destroy essential amino acids such as tryptophan and increase the amounts of free glutamate in foods.

Also, the phenylalanine in chocolate (a good mood food) will produce more dopamine when combined with other amino acids such as dairy.

Essentially, good mood food is about creating the right balance of carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and healthy fats to create the right balance between the two types of neurotransmitters.

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