I’m happy because of what I eat

April 27, 2008 10:47 PM

Previously I’ve delved into the philosophical reasons why I’m happy most of the time. Out of curiousity, I decided to check into the biochemistry of it. Besides the obvious artificial sources in the forms of drugs, other sources lie in the food which we eat.

My breakfast for the longest time that I can remember consists of the following (mineral and chemical nutritional info in parentheses):

  • 1 banana (vitamins B6/C, potassium, seratonin)
  • Peanut butter (magnesium, tryptophan) on wholemeal toast (magnesium)
  • Milo in the form of milk (multi-vitamins, calcium, potassium, magnesium, tryptophan) and chocolate (tryptophan), along with the other additives that come with Milo


The items in bold are what we are interested here. Seratonin is a neurotransmitter important for mood regulation, as well as sleep and appetite. Tryptophan is a biochemical precursor for our bodies to produce more seratonin. And with this information, I finally understand why I’ve subconsciously stuck to this breakfast for so long.

Seratonin ingested through diet is usually good for temporary mood regulation, but that which is created by the body can be stored for later use. It is this that help us maintain a consistent state of mind. Therefore eating foods rich in tryptophan is a good idea. Some other dietary sources include:

  • poultry
  • cheese
  • beef, pork, lamb
  • eggs
  • sunflower and sesame seeds (although you have to eat a lot more of these than the others on the list)

Even if you never realised any of the above, like I did before I did this research, it is clear that eating a healthy and balanced diet is not just good for you physically but it is also good for your mental health. Is it any wonder that people who go on fad diets are usually a moody lot? 😉

11 thoughts on “I’m happy because of what I eat

  1. mf

    haha…tats the reason why women binge on chocs when we r in a bad mood 😛
    Isit true tat bananas help haha…my mum asked me to take a banana b4 I go for a interview!hmm…

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  3. girlstar7

    Studies have shown that when people cut down dramatically on calories and don’t eat enough, they start to become moody, anxious and show similar symptoms to someone with serious depression. Similarly, if people binge too much on junk food and don’t eat healthily enough, they become sluggish, demotivated and depressed.
    On the other end of the scale, excercising and eating certain foods releases endorphins (feel-good chemicals) to make you feel happy. After doing an hour of excercise the same endorphins are released as those that are released after sex!
    So keeping fit and eating well does improve your mental health! 🙂

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