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Depression

‘Happy hormones’– yes, you heard it right! Hormones that bring happiness and a sense of well-being. This group of endogenous neurotransmitters chemicals is generated by our brain and serves to create joy, happiness and pleasure. Here are the five main ones-

1. Dopamine– This affects the nervous system and is associated with the brain’s reward system. Hence, being acknowledged for your efforts gives you a generous release of this happy hormone. Setting realistic goals (e.g. waking up half an hour earlier or eating at home on week days) and achieving them will boost and give a delicious dopamine hit naturally. This neurotransmitter also concentrates on the sensation of pleasure. Hence, it gets discharged in response to pleasurable activities such as eating foods you like or having sex.

How to increase its levels?

– Seek out pleasurable healthy activities that have a positive impact on your life
– Spend more time in sunlight to increase your sensitivity to dopamine.
– Practise deep breathing and meditation
– Sleep well
– Eat foods rich in phenylalanine and tyrosine like nuts, paneer, beans etc. Once tyrosine (that can be produced from phenylalanine) enters the body, it moves to the brain. After enzymatic reactions, the corresponding neurons transform it into dopamine.

2. Serotonin– this is used in anti-depressants as low levels of serotonin in your brain can make you fall into depression.

How to increase its levels?

– Workout or play a sport
– Eat tryptophan rich foods like milk, especially at bedtime
– Have foods rich in omega 3 like ghee, nuts, lentils
– Most important, do not go carb- free

3. Oxytocin– also called as the ‘love hormone’, because of its role in establishing emotional ties and relationships.

How to increase its levels?

– Practising yoga and relaxation techniques
Having a meal in the company of loved ones
– Go for a massage at least once/ week
– Pursuing any activity that you enjoy- sports/ singing etc.

4. Endorphins– this brings a sense of calm, well-being and euphoria.

How to increase its levels?

– Join a group exercise class like aerobics, yoga, martial art (where you are likely to meet other people)
– Make sure you do not give up on foods you like because you have decided to “diet”

5. Estrogen/ Progesterone – the hormones that lower anxiety and irritability.

How to increase its levels?

– Stress management is important because cortisol, stress hormone interferes with the function of these hormones

– Levels of these hormones decreases with menopause in women, but unhealthy lifestyle- poor eating, inactivity, poor sleep habits can further aggravate it a lot more. Hence, eat right, move more, exercise smart and sleep well!

Keep yourself happy by keeping yourself healthy. Let well-known Mumbai dietitian and fitness expert Munmun Ganeriwal design a nutrition, exercise and lifestyle transformation program that elevates your overall sense of well-being. Contact us now for an in-depth consultation.

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Mango may play the king of fruits, but when it comes to making up the health, banana owns the crown. Banana, is a common fruit and can be seen in almost every part of India. Be it sheera, malpua or payasam (kheer), a sweet and sour twist of banana adds a delicious flavour summing up to its taste. The crispy and salty chips made by slicing down the bananas are famous too. Apart from being one of the tasty fruit, it is also considered as a source of nutrition and a healthy snack.

Banana Health Benefits (you must know)
Contrary to popular belief, bananas actually help you in losing weight. If you are looking out to get healthy and fit, then there are reasons enough for you to include this humble fruit in your daily diet. Here are the 8 beneficial reasons why you must eat a banana-

Improves Digestion

Bananas are rich in and dietary fibre, which are vital elements in removing the toxins from the body. It also contains fructooligosaccharides, which is prebiotic in nature. What this fructooligosaccharides or FOS does is, it feeds the good bacteria within the digestive tract. This helps us to absorb the necessary nutrients systematically.

Bananas provide an ease in digesting food. Even if you’re going through a constipation case, banana comes to the rescue, thereby smoothening the bowel movements. Bananas ultimately aid in minimizing the unhealthy digestive situations keeping your gut fit and light.

Aids in Boosting Energy

Neither an energy bar nor any flavoured energy drink can provide enough of nutrients which a single banana can- it is considered as an energy-boosting snack by health experts. A dose of vitamin and mineral is must to give a power packed performance, and bananas surely come up with what’s required. Professional athletes and other sports personalities make sure to have bananas in their diet plan, which helps them in their strenuous workout.

Serves as a Great source of Potassium

Potassium plays a major role in proper functioning of a heart. It helps in regulating blood pressure and aids in smooth flow of blood throughout the body. Banana, being rich in potassium, benefits you by reducing the risk of high blood pressure. According to research, eating bananas everyday can lower down the risk of stroke by 20%. It is also considered as a superfood (super fruit).

Fights Various Skin Conditions

Being rich in nutrients, banana also has a major role in keeping your skin healthy. A well-mashed banana, when applied on face, helps in moisturizing the skin, making it smooth. It also controls the oil on the skin, when applied along with honey and a bit of lemon juice.

Not just the fruit, but also its peel has its own potential. The fatty acids present in the banana skin makes it good enough for fighting psoriasis, acne and other skin conditions.

Helps Fight Anaemia

Banana can help fight Anaemia, a condition in which there occurs a deficiency in the total number of RBCs or haemoglobin in the blood.

Iron and copper are essential elements which make up the haemoglobin, and bananas are a great source of both, iron and copper. Banana, with its active elements, iron and copper, plays a vital role in enhancing the ability of blood to carry oxygen.

Assists in Strengthening Bones

As you already know, strong bones are essential to staying fit and healthy. Banana is a great source of nutrients: Vitamin K, calcium, magnesium, and potassium which are much needed to keep up the strength within your bones. Also as said earlier, the prebiotic component called fructooligosaccharides present in it helps the good bacteria produce the necessary digestive enzymes and vitamins, which ultimately help in bone-strengthening.

Combats Depression

Banana is a natural stress buster, it helps to fight depression. It contains high levels of tryptophan which gets converted by the body into serotonin, which helps to relax and improve your mood. It also contains other elements like dopamine and Vitamin B6 which play a vital role in boosting one’s mood.

Improves Eye-sight

You must have heard people saying carrot and beet-roots can benefit in improving your vision (and surely they do). Meanwhile, according to the new studies, bananas also help in enhancing the eye-sight. Banana has all the necessary contents like antioxidants and carotenoids along with required minerals which keeps your eyes healthy. Even a normal intake of banana can suppress cataracts, glaucoma, and night blindness.

Key Take-away

And you wondered why those minions are so crazy for this simple looking fruit. Now you must have got an idea. An apple a day may surely keep the doctor away, so does the banana. So make sure to add this delicious fruit to your daily diet to stay healthy and fit. Start munching now!

Read related articles on Indian fruits.
10 Reasons to Eat Mangoes in Summer
Enjoy local Tadgolas (Toddy palm) in Summer

Confused by the misinformation about potential health problems with traditional Indian foods? Get in touch with award-winning Mumbai dietitian and nutritionist, Munmun Ganeriwal, a strong advocate of the holistic, wellness benefits of fresh, local, and traditional Indian foods

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