Essential nutrients in food
Life Style

Tryptophan: Essential Nutrient

(‘trip-tah-fan): There are about 10 essential amino acids that our bodies absolutely need. These essential amino acids come from their building bodies called proteins. These proteins are essential for our bodies to grow, develop, and remain healthy. They are so essential that our bodies do not produce these themselves, we must eat foods to gain these essential nutrients. We need these essential nutrients for our skin, bones, muscles, enzymes, and chemicals that run systems in our bodies. This means it requires work from us individually to supply our bodies with these proteins. In class I did a short paper on this protein called tryptophan and it was considered an essential nutrient for the body. Tryptophan is a protein that helps enhance mood, relaxation, and sleep. We can gain these nutrients through many sources of protein that you can buy, cook, and make them your own. Tryptophan is not a common word you hear because all we hear is protein and we never know the names of the proteins we are supposed to consume. With our hectic schedules and busy lives we always need a little enhancement. Let tryptophan do the trick.

Mood and emotion is connected to serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that works closely with the essential amino acid, tryptophan. Serotonin levels are usually low in women because of the menstrual cycles the body through. If your tryptophan levels are high during one’s menstrual cycle, then the serotonin levels will increase. On the other hand, sleep and relaxation is connected to melatonin, which is a neurotransmitter that works closely with the essential amino acid, tryptophan. Most of the time melatonin levels are low when we feel exhausted and our sleep circadian rhythm cycle is off. Who knows this could be from being a new parent, working a night shift, having insomnia, or just being a night owl. With high protein foods that contain tryptophan your body would be able to relax a bit more even under your life circumstances.

I am not a scientist, but I thought that sharing this with you all would be extremely beneficial because we all experience bad moods and emotion, and lack of sleep and relaxation. Below I am going to share with some essential nutrients the body needs to keep tryptophan stored and able to use when ready. The answer is FOOD. Very simple right. You will find that these simple essential nutrients in food do not cost much at all either. Buys food such as:

-Fresh turkey

-Wild-caught fish

-Sources of dairy (cheese, yogurt, milk)

-Pineapples

-Tofu

-Salmon

-ALL nuts and seeds (this is awesome because some nuts/seeds don’t carry the same nutrients)

-Red meats

-Chicken

-Beans and lentils

-Oats

I hope that you all get some tryptophan in your system at least 3 times a day! You will notice big changes in your mood and sleep once you do. If you haven’t noticed, being healthy makes you feel healthy and enhances your overall well-being. Let tryptophan be a part of that. What I like about proteins is that they are always readily available through food and not any vitamin, supplements, or powders! Let me know any major changes you all may see in your everyday behaviors.

See you next time! KIONA XO

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