Did you know protein boosts your mood? It’s like the secret sauce for your Brain and can improve your energy, thoughts, and feelings. It provides the building blocks for happy chemicals (neurotransmitters), keeps blood sugar steady to avoid mood crashes, and supports a healthy gut for even more serotonin production. Amino acids in protein help produce neurotransmitters, like serotonin, which regulate mood.

More Than Just Protein: A Holistic Approach

While protein is a powerful tool, it’s just one piece of the puzzle. Here are additional nutrition and health tips to support your mental health:

Reduce or Eliminate Processed Foods- Decreases Inflammation

Ditch boxed or packed foods. Why? They are usually terrible for you and include a lot of salt, sugar, and fat. These foods have been proven to make you sick and promote chronic inflammation (not good- see above).

Add More Protein to Your Diet: Helps to Produce Key Neurotransmitters in the Brain

Increase your protein intake. Foods rich in protein contain amino acids to help produce the key neurotransmitters to prevent and treat depression and anxiety. Aim for about 100 grams of protein daily (about your body weight in grams). Also, eating protein with carbs and fat at meals and snacks helps you avoid sugary, processed foods, which can trigger anxiety and depression.

Stop Eating After Dinner: Promotes Rest and Recovery of Vital Processes in the Body

Give your systems a rest. Your body needs additional time to rest and recover. During sleep, your body prioritizes digestion and detoxification. Avoiding late-night meals allows your body to focus on these processes more efficiently. This can improve sleep quality and potentially reduce inflammation, linked to better mood and cognitive function.

Cut Back or Limit Alcohol Intake: Decreases Levels of Cortisol

Ever get the wine wake-ups or “hangxiety?” As alcohol is working its way out of your system, your body produces dynorphin, the opposite of endorphin, making you feel down. When you drink (even just one), your blood alcohol content rises, and your Brain artificially produces dopamine. Since your Brain also wants to be balanced, it counteracts by producing cortisol which may cause you to wake up in the middle of the night with anxiety or worry.

Stay Curious!

Stay curious and experiment with different foods and approaches. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to your health and wellness! Chances are, if you’re reading or watching this, you may be open to trying different ideas to improve your physical or mental health. Keep trying new food and various strategies that work for you (and share what you learn here and with others!). 

Want additional ideas to increase your protein? Check out this article about protein and hacks to increase your intake.

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