Pageviews Since May, 2012 (That's when I added this view counter) Website has been up since 2007

Friday, April 29, 2011

Walking And Walnuts: Substitutes For Prozac?

Prozac is one of this country's favorite drugs for depression. Each year, over 118 million prescriptions are written for antidepressants to patients suffering from depressed moods and other negative psychiatric symptoms.

Ironically, however, this pill carries with it the side effects of depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts. Some of the most horrifying and tragic crimes that hit the news headlines turn out to have been committed by individuals that were on some type of antidepressant.

So, the question arises as to whether or not there may be some natural method for improving mood disorders. It's a given that each case is different and should be evaluated by a physician, but walnuts and walking might have some special treats to offer in relation to the mind.

Most people have heard of serotonin. It's a neurotransmitter that affects the central nervous system. It affects mood, sleep, energy and metabolism in our bodies. Serotonin has been called the "feel good" chemical. Too little serotonin and we become anxious, overly timid and depressed.

Too much of it and we become angry, aggressive and possibly even violent. Certain foods contain tryptophan, which is synthesized in the brain into serotonin. Walnuts contain some of the highest amounts of tryptophan at 100 mg. per half cup serving.

Meats like turkey also contain tryptophan, but in order for synthesizing to take place, a little carbohydrate is necessary to increase insulin in the blood. With the insulin slightly increased, amino acids are lowered and the desired chemical reaction in the brain takes place.

That's why walnuts are ideal, because they contain not only high amounts of tryptophan, but also a few carbohydrates to boot. Enjoy a half a cup of shelled walnuts every night before you go to bed and see what happens. So, you could accurately call walnuts "brain food", and not just because they resemble little brains.

Walnuts promote healthy brain chemistry. Walking fits into the better brain chemistry picture because it also increases serotonin, leaving you with a relaxed and content mood. Exercise in general helps regulate serotonin, but keep in mind that too much of a good thing can be bad.

Over exercising can deplete adrenaline, causing stress on the thyroid gland. Any kind of body stress lowers serotonin, making it difficult to sleep. That in turn, creates more stress on the body and the vicious cycle begins. That's why walking is ideal, because it is just the right amount of exercise to raise serotonin.

Walking for at least twenty minutes, 3-5 times a week is plenty. So, if you give these suggestions a try, who knows, your doctor may decide that you don't need your Prozac anymore.

No comments: