I love endorphins. Hey, I confess. If you gotta be addicted
to something, why not something good for you, right?
are the body's natural pain medication hormones. Endorphins
(en-dor-fins), when they're released, make us feel
better, improve our mood, increase pleasure, and minimize
pain. There are some good ways, and bad ways, to increase
endorphin levels make us crave fat
Allison in her excellent book Full & Fulfilled describes
the relationship between endorphins, food, and exercise.
By permission, Nan Allison, M.S., RD writes:
concentrations of endorphins in the brain produce a sense
of euphoria, enhance pleasure, and suppress pain, both
emotionally and physically. When endorphins are low, people
feel anxious; they are also more aware of pain. They have
an appetite for fat and fatty foods, such as fries, cheese,
creamy sauces, margarine, butter, fried chicken, potato
chips, and chocolate, to name some of the most popular
examples. Upon eating some fat, they will notice a change
in mood, feeling more pleasure. This feeling is related
to a higher concentration of endorphin. Exercise, by
releasing fat from within the body, raises endorphins
and causes the same mood changes.
we have cravings for potato chips and chocolate, it may
mean that we need an endorphin pill rather than all the
empty calories from chips. Well, there's a problem. We don't
have an endorphin pill. But we have something even better;
knowledge of how to deal with these specific types of cravings.
Low serotonin levels make us crave sugar
another hormone, serotonin makes us feel calm, poised, confident,
and relaxed. When our serotonin levels are low, we feel
nervous, irritable and stressed. We don't crave fat, now
we crave sugar.
cravings for sugar? Nan Allison advises that trying some
crackers, frozen yogurt or popcorn may help by raising serotonin
levels with far less calories.
dopamine make us feel foggy
"foggy" at times? This just may be caused by low
dopamine levels. When
we don't get adequate protein, dopamine levels drop and
this makes us mentally sluggish.
best way to raise dopamine levels, get plenty of lean protein
in you diet, with moderate fat and carbs, advises Nan Allison.
need carbs before you exercise
a mistake to think that exercising without adequate carbs
in your system will help you lose body fat. Nan Allison
people mistakenly believe that if they limit their carbohydrate
intake, and then exercise, their body fat will be broken
down. What happens, in fact, is that they are lowering
their capacity to burn fat, and will lower their metabolism.
The reason for this is that the body will break down muscle
to form carbohydrate. In addition, the muscle breakdown
raises stress hormone levels and causes carbohydrate cravings.
High-intensity exercise performs best
have shown for years that high-intensity exercise increases
these hormones significantly.
beta-endorphin levels correlated with the peak speed
attained during the sprint and the subjects peak power
to weight ratio. These results suggest that the increases
in plasma adrenaline are related to those factors that reflect
the stress of the exercise and the contribution of anaerobic
metabolism." ( Exercise intensity-related responses
of beta-endorphin and catecholamines, 1987, McMurray).
we experience strong cravings for sugar and high fat foods,
it's probably due to a low hormone level that can be resolved
with a sensible food choice.
it comes to diet, the research is clear, the best diet is
a balanced diet / in moderation.
to get some high-quality carbs before workouts. This will
help fuel the intensity of the workout, and increase, not
lower your metabolism.
a great day!
Campbell, M.S., M.A., FACHE
Author Ready, Set, GO! Synergy Fitness
you would like more information on Nan Allison's book. Amazon
has a free chapter &Table of Contents listed here.