“The easiest way to lose weight is to satisfy your brain,” said Judith Wurtman, Ph.D., managing one of the world’s largest scientific laboratories, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Judith Wurtman’s field is women’s health and how various diets affect it. Together with her colleague, she wrote a book called “The Serotonin Diet,” one of the main manifestoes of a new healthy lifestyle.
The point is that to lose weight, you need to have a lot of energy and enjoy life, and for this you need to make friends with your own appetite. It will not go off scale, if you balance the serotonin level.
This chemical element is one of the neurotransmitters of the brain, which is responsible for many of the most important processes in our body. First of all – for our appetite, mood and libido. When the level of serotonin drops, we feel seizures of acute hunger. This hunger makes us desire something “tasty”, and the more harmful the better.
If serotonin in the brain is chronically low – it’s already depression (Prozac and other antidepressants are developed in such way that they eventually increase serotonin). And when it is at a normal level, we, on the contrary, feel the fullness of life – literally and figuratively, even if the last thing we are was parsley, six hours ago.
It is with a lack of serotonin that some doctors associate obesity “by the upper type” – when you get fat in the abdomen and waist. Synthesis of serotonin in our bodies is stimulated by tryptophan. It is an amino acid, which is found in foods rich in fiber, proteins and complex carbohydrates (they are also called “slow”, because they are digested for a long time and do not cause a sharp rise in glucose levels).
Conversely, the easily digestible empty carbohydrates, as well as strict protein diets, coffee and alcohol, reduce the level of serotonin.
In practice, this means that we should eat:
- oats and, generally, whole grains,
- brown rice,
- seafood (it contain lots of polyunsaturated fatty acids Omega-3 and
- dates, figs, dried apricots,
- sesame and other nuts,
- sweet potatoes,
- shrimps (rich in magnesium, which also indirectly increases the level of
- celery, cauliflower, broccoli, tomatoes,
- dark chocolate.
Of all the alcohol, the only good for serotonin is the dry red wine. It’s a pleasant diet. You have very small limits to keep to. You are allowed to eat bread, pasta from durum wheat and other wonderful things. However, it is very important when you eat and how much you eat.
DR. WURTHMAN’S RECOMMENDATIONS
- If you are hungry, slow carbohydrates will help you. Better not mix them with proteins. You should wait at least three hours before and after you consume carbohydrates. The protein content in a carbohydrate portion should not exceed 4 g, fats – no more than 3 g.
- Eat carbohydrates at the beginning, and not at the end of the meal. If they brought you some bread at a restaurant (preferably made of whole-grain flour), you can afford yourself having a piece of it.
- Proteins are for breakfast and lunch. In the second half of the day, better save yourself with carbohydrates (bananas, dried fruits, a piece of chocolate). For dinner – carbohydrates and quite a bit of protein (for example, pasta with asparagus and shrimp). Your serotonin level will rise, and you will easily manage without having any sweets with your tea. By the way, serotonin also improves sleep quality.
- Stress – especially if you are making one hundred things at once – causes serotonin hunger. This means that you need even more serotonin. You can achieve this by moving more and being under the sun rays.
- When it gets really cold, buy vitamins and minerals that possess a beneficial effect over the nervous system: B6, B12, B5 and B8 (inositol), E, magnesium, chromium, zinc, selenium, L-lipoic acid and biotin. Take it down with St. John’s wort.