What we eat affects how we feel

Food makes us feel good. Besides tasting great and nourishing the body, food also has an influence on appetite and moods. Research shows that certain foods affect powerful mood-modifying brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters are made from the foods we eat, and are present in higher concentrations after meals than between them.

Of the many neurotransmitters present in our bodies, only a few affect appetite:

Serotonin: A chemical released after eating carbohydrates (sugars and starches). It enhances calmness, improves mood and lessens depression. Serotonin is made from the amino acid tryptophan. High levels of serotonin control appetite and satisfy cravings.

Dopamine and norepinephrine: Chemicals released after eating protein (meats, poultry, dairy, legumes). They enhance mental concentration and alertness. These neurotransmitters come from the amino acid tyrosine.

What To Eat, And When

What you choose for a meal or snack can make a difference in how much you eat or how soon you will desire to eat again. Carbohydrate and protein sources at meals might help you to feel satisfied, both at the meal and after eating. Look for carbohydrate foods that are whole grain and/or contain whole grains and fiber. Choose foods such as:

Whole grain breads and cereals.

Potatoes with skin

Brown rice

Whole grain pasta

Pilaf made with bulgar and quinoa

Fresh fruits

Vegetables (lots!)

Low-fat protein foods are not only hearth-healthy, but are also easier to digest, and they won't leave you feeling weighed down like fried meats or high-fat choices such as spare ribs or salami. Choose items such as:

Lean meat

Skinless poultry

Fish

Tofu or textured vegetable protein

Beans and lentils

Low-fat dairy (yogurt, milk or cheese)

Combine carbohydrates and protein to keep your energy lasting even longer. Try them in any combination that works for you, or try some of these examples:

Whole grain bread with roast turkey and tomato slices, paired with an apple.

Salmon on a bed of lentils drizzled with fresh lemon juice, spicy brown rice and beans topped with Greek yogurt.

Chicken vegetable soup with a pear salad.

With good fuel, you will feel better, have more energy and sleep better.

n

Julie Cantrell is owner of Hood River Curves.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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