Posted: 10 February 2012

Recovery Foods- by Susan Kath

Whether your prepping for a nuts night out or in recovery mode from a session the night before, here are some tips by Susan Kath to help you recover.

Big night out? Feeling low and flat and lacking in energy?
Replace depleted nutrients to get you going again.
Also drink lots of water or herbal teas to overcome dehydration.
Replace electrolytes, e.g. sodium & potassium.

Dopamine levels, a neurotransmitter that motivates you and make you experience pleasure, may be lacking. It’s easily damaged but protected by antioxidants, e.g. fruits & vegetables.

Dopamine, noradrenaline and adrenaline are made from the amino acids tyrosine and phenylalanine found in protein rich foods, meat, dairy, bananas, fish, beans, seeds & almonds. These neurotransmitters make you energetic, increase concentration & motivation.

Chances are your feel food neurotransmitter serotonin is also depleted leaving you flat and depressed. Tryptophan, another amino acid is what’s needed to make more.

However, tyrosine and tryptophan compete to get into the brain.

So to lift your mood, you need more serotonin. You also need to eat more carbohydrate foods, like bread, rice or pasta, with your protein to divert competing amino acids.

Co-factors like B vitamins, vitamin C, magnesium manganese, zinc, iron and copper increase neurotransmitter and energy production . SAMe (s-adenosyl methionine), made from methionine also makes these feel good neurotransmitters. It also helps your liver clear toxins from indulging.

Omega 3 essential fatty acids, e.g. EPA and DHA, found in fish oils increase serotonin levels, build healthy neurons and neurotransmitter receptor sites and enhance nerve transmission. Flaxseeds are a good vegetarian source of omega 3 oils.

Recovery Meals-

Mood (serotonin) booster?

Banana Smoothie
Banana (tryptophan, carbs & potassium)
1 tspn raw cacao powder (high in Magnesium & anandamide & phenylethalamine – also increase mood)
Milk (goat higher in tryptophan than cows milk)
1 tspn flaxseed or fish oil (source of omega 3 EFAs)
1 tspn of ground flaxseeds
1 tspn manuka honey
Blend altogether and drink immediately
Power Frappe?
1 tspn ground flaxseeds (high in omega 3 oils)
1 teaspoon of flaxseed or fish oils (high in omega 3 EFAs)
1 banana
½ cup mixed berries (High in antioxidants)
1 cup spinach leaves (Contains B vitamins, C, iron, magnesium, manganese, copper, sodium & SAMe precursor).
Blend together adding sufficient water to achieve desired consistency.

Need something more solid? Try this serotonin booster
Wholegrain toast or brown rice
Avocado (tryptophan & vit B5, B6)
Chicken or turkey breast (tryptophan, tyrosine, penylalanine & methionine)
Spinach leaves (magnesium & folate)
Dukkah (nuts, seeds & spices – magnesium, manganese, zinc)

More energy and alertness needed?
Eat more protein and less carbohydrates.
e.g. eggs, They are also rich in choline to build nerve cells and neurotransmitter receptor sites; converted into acetylcholine which boosts memory.

Omelette with goats cheese, chicken, asparagus & spinach.