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Protein is far less controversial than carbs. The right amount of protein at the right time is the way to stay upbeat and active. Protein is composed of many amino acids. Though ideally we should fill our brain with all of them, the one crucial one for energy is called tyrosine. Tyrosine is needed for the production of dopamine and norepinephrine. These help us keep focused, energized and motivated. Tyrosine effects our mood in multiple ways. By keeping our thyroid gland and its hormones active it helps regulate metabolism. Through this our stamina and mental clarity improve. Tyrosine is found in most proteins, but the best sources are sunflower seeds, beans, bananas, almonds, fish, eggs, soy products and dairy. If you “focus” you’ll find that the effects of eating protein peak 2-3 hours after eating and are strongest when eaten alone.
Before concerns about contamination, fish was regarded as one of the healthiest sources of protein. Why? Herring, mackerel, sardines, tuna and salmon are rich in omega-3s. These are essential fatty acids (EFA's). Though we call these acids “fatty” they do not increase how many stone we are. However, EFA's will elevate our mood and increase emotional stability. 22 percent of the people surveyed by The Food and Mood Project reported that an EFA supplement “definitely helped” emotional or mental health. This is more than hearsay. Researchers began investigating the ability of omega-3's to effect mood after they noticed that depression is common in people with heart disease, and that low levels of omega 3's are found in both groups.
More support for fish emerged at the 2004 meeting of the International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids congress in Brighton. Omega 3's are called such because there are three different varieties. BBC News, who covered the gathering, reports member Dr. Ray Rice as saying: "People who eat a lot of fish are generally healthier, mentally and physically, than non-fish eaters.” How much is enough? According to the Food Standards Agency, on average, people in the UK eat a third of a portion (about 47g) of oily fish a week. They recommend two servings of fish a week, with one being oily.
Vegetarians will cheer to know that fish isn’t the only good source of omega 3's. Dark leafy green vegetables, flaxseed, walnuts and seaweed all contain linolenic acid that the body converts to the same type of omega-3 found in fish.
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