Have you ever heard the saying that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach? Well there may be something to it. When we think of love we often tend to include the feelings of joy and contentment in the same sentence. What if I told you that there was more than one hormone in play that helps to create these unwavering bonds of love? Interestingly enough, one of the main hormones that contributes to these feelings is mainly found in the digestive tract!

Feeling the Love?

The hormones that are responsible for our feelings or processing of love are: Serotonin, Oxytocin, Dopamine, Vasopressin, Testosterone, Norepinephrine, and Estrogen. The two hormones that are often mistaken for one another are Serotonin and Dopamine. It may be due to the fact that the two of them perform similar functions. Dopamine, however, is intended for more short-term triggers. Dopamine is also highly addictive and can be easy to build up tolerance levels with. It is produced mainly in the brain and interacts with only 5 different brain receptors. Dopamine provides more of a mental release as opposed to a physical benefit.

Hormone Puppet Masters

The hormone responsible for our feelings of joy and contentment is called Serotonin. Serotonin is primarily found within our digestive tract, although it also occurs in blood platelets and throughout the Central Nervous System. It is produced from the amino acid tryptophan. Known for its ability to naturally stabilize your mood it also plays a key role in the following: sleeping, digestion, wound healing, bone health, and sex drive. As we research into the gut and its importance in our overall health, the more we find that the gut acts as a second brain.

Iron Gut Angels

With the importance of the gut proving to be more pivotal to our health and wellness. It stands to reason that when our gut health fails the rest of our health follows suit. Leaky gut is a condition that occurs when the lining of the digestive system has become compromised. The end result is that nutrients and unwanted pathogens are no longer getting to the areas they need to be in. Leaky gut can be caused by a number of different things. One of the most common culprits is our diet and nutrition. There are foods that can eat away at the pre-existing lining within our digestive tract.

Power In Your Abdomen

While it may not sound dangerous to have a thinning in our digestive lining. It is imperative to recall that the majority of our immune system lies within our guts. Thus, when this critical part of our defense has become compromised we leave ourselves open to a number of ramifications. However, like most things in life we are able to fix and restore the areas that have become compromised. One of the most user friendly ways to do just that is through our nutrition. Conveniently, there is a great deal of overlap when it comes to foods that help repair our gut and boost our Serotonin levels. That means we can improve our health and feel great about it!

Happy Foods

When it comes to improving our Serotonin levels foods that are high in the amino acid tryptophan are by far the fastest way to do just that. The following is a list of foods that naturally increase our Serotonin levels:

  • Eggs
  • Cheese
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Brown Rice
  • Spirulina
  • Pineapple
  • Salmon
  • Turkey
  • Walnuts
  • Fermented Foods
  • Bright Vegetables
  • Vegetable Oils
  • Bananas
  • Oats
  • Almonds
  • Pecans
  • Pistachios
  • Leafy Green Vegetables

Tryptophan Heavy Hitters

While all these foods contain some level of tryptophan there are some foods that contain the highest levels of tryptophan. Here is a list of the top 10 highest tryptophan containing foods:

  1. Seeds & Nuts
  2. Soya Foods
  3. Cheese
  4. Pork/Game/Red Meats
  5. Chicken & Turkey
  6. Fish
  7. Shellfish
  8. Grains
  9. Beans & Lentils
  10. Eggs

Gut Strengthening Foods

Leaky gut syndrome can be treated by eating foods packed full of nutrients. The following is a list of foods that are ideal to improve your gut health:

  • Fermented Foods
  • Nuts (almonds/walnuts/pecans)
  • Cultured Dairy Products
  • Healthy Cooking Fats
  • Broccoli
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Zucchini
  • Leafy Green Vegetables
  • Bananas
  • Oranges
  • Seeds (chia/flax/hemp)
  • Gluten-Free Grains (brown rice/amaranth/sorghum/ and oats)

Your Health Cheat Sheet

The next time you feel yourself getting down, or if you feel like you are not enough, listen to your gut and stock up on tryptophan dense foods. I know it can be difficult to change your eating habits. One of the biggest obstacles in changing our nutrition is the taste. That is why I do my best to provide you with a quick, easy, and delicious way to incorporate these tools into your current lifestyle. The road to true happiness starts in the gut! Get your fork and knife ready, because this year is all about taking back control of your health and happiness! Here is a tryptophan dense tasty treat to help you do just that.

Honey Seed Brittle

Category: Health and Wellness Experts Advice

Cuisine: Gluten-free, Dairy-free

Honey Seed Brittle

Ingredients

  • ¼ Cup Honey
  • 2 teaspoons Vegan Butter
  • 1 Tbsp Water
  • ½ teaspoon Baking Soda
  • ¾ Cup Coconut Sugar
  • 1 Pinch Sea Salt
  • ¾ Cup Sesame Seeds Raw
  • ¼ Cup Pumpkin Seeds Raw
  • 1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan stir together sugar, honey, salt, and water until combined. Once liquid starts to bubble at the edges of the pan add seeds. Stir continually until mixture turns golden (about 300 Degrees F). Remove from heat and immediately stir in vanilla and vegan butter. Next, mix in baking soda (this will make mixture foam slightly and lighten). Quickly, pour mixture into candy mold or on a cookie sheet (pre-treated with non stick preventative). Let harden at room temperature (about 20 minutes). Remove from molds or break into pieces and store in an airtight container for up to 10 days.

 

Ready to Get Started?

Are you ready to start taking back control of your health? Our health is something that we all have to deal with daily, and when we don’t feel our best, it shows. If you are tired of just making it through your day then you NEED to start investing in your health today! You are not alone on this journey. If you ever need any help I am always here to do just that. Even if it is something as small as just acting as a sounding board. Do you have any questions or concerns I can help you with? Feel free to contact me directly at [email protected] or you can even book a one-on-one call with me. Be sure to subscribe to gain access to tons of free goodies and check back daily for more great recipes and information!

Latest posts by Dr. Dixie Short