Why eating cheese and chocolate is so good

Delhi-based Anagha Srotreya struggled to balance the challenges of her job in the human resources department of a media company with caring for her ailing parent and pre-teen daughter. From yoga classes and meditation sessions to a leisurely pampering day at the spa, she has tried several ways to relieve tension.

A consultation with the nutritionist at her gym changed things for her – she was introduced to the idea that food could affect overall emotional well-being. Her nutritionist Dr. Shalini Dhingra spoke with Srotreya about the powerful amino acid, L-tyrosine, which produces adrenaline and dopamine and is known to help increase happiness, improve memory and manage stress. And no, that didn’t mean turning to a supplement. “L-tyrosine (also known simply as tyrosine) can be produced by the body in small quantities. A large dose of it can be introduced into the system through the food we eat,” says Dhingra, listing some of the foods that contain tyrosine – dairy. , especially cheese, meat, fish, eggs, nuts, beans, oats, wheat and soy.

According to her, food that naturally contains L-tyrosine is part of a well-rounded, nutrient-rich diet that could make you feel happier and healthier for multiple reasons. “L-tyrosine also helped reduce cognitive decline in people under intense physical stress. Initial studies show that L-tyrosine could also help with memory and performance when under mental or emotional stress,” says Dhingra.

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Tyrosine is a non-essential amino acid produced from another amino acid called phenylalanine. It helps the body create several necessary substances, including dopamine, adrenaline, thyroid and melanin. “Clinically speaking, tyrosine is an amino acid that helps maintain the stressed components required by nerve cells to send and receive signals,” adds Dhingra. Although most people don’t need to get L-tyrosine from external sources as our body produces it, it can be beneficial in certain circumstances. For example, the amino acid helps humans function in stressful situations. Studies are underway to prove the effect of L-tyrosine in the military, as most officers are exposed to extreme weather conditions and are asked to perform cognitive tasks. Tyrosine can also help you stay mentally awake, especially when you have lost sleep. Additionally, as tyrosine is transformed into the brain chemicals dopamine and norepinephrine, it plays a role in relieving depression and is known to treat mild to moderate depression. Simrun Chopra, Deep Health Coach, nutritionist and founder of the health and fitness platform, Nourish with Sim, says: “During times of stress, our bodies release these chemicals which cause our brains to become depleted and thus the feeling of being depressed and unable to respond to ongoing stress in a balanced way “.

The effectiveness of any amino acid or nutrient lies in reaching the recommended daily value. The best way to do this is through a balanced diet, although a little coffee and chocolate can help too. Chocolate, for example, also has the desired effect as it contains small amounts of phenylethylamine (PEA), a compound that signals our brain cells to release dopamine. Additionally, high-quality coffee in moderation can also raise dopamine levels as caffeine can signal our body to produce additional dopamine. No wonder these are considered the perfect mid-morning snacks.

Chopra, however, adds a word of caution. “The thing to remember is that adequate intake of tyrosine with vitamin D or reduced, unaddressed omega-three fatty acids will not make an individual healthy. We have to approach the whole person from an individualized perspective. For example, a high intake. of tyrosine reacts with some medications and large amounts increase thyroxine levels which worsen hyperthyroidism or severe disease. So, before adding any supplements, it is advisable to consult a nutritionist or doctor, “he says.

Srotreya agrees. “One of the first things my nutritionist suggested is that if L-tyrosine is one of the building blocks of protein, one is unlikely to be deficient in tyrosine to the point of causing adverse health effects. But if anyone is considering supplementing. with L-Tyrosine, you should check with your doctor to make sure it’s the right choice, it was recommended to me, “he says. Sure, chronic stress is hard to deal with, but an informed action plan is needed rather than following a Google diet, Dhingra adds.

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