Serotonin – The Happiness Hormone
Research proves that when your body has low levels of serotonin, there is a negative impact on your state of mind, sleep patterns, digestive system, memory and even sex life. The absence of serotonin causes melancholy and depression. More severe cases require professional intervention and pharmaceutical support, but most are less severe cases. These less severe cases benefit by naturally increasing serotonin levels in the body.
It should come as no surprise that your diet plays an integral role in your levels of serotonin and how effectively your body produces serotonin. Here are 10 ways to use nutrition to boost serotonin levels and feel happier.
- Consume foods with tryptophan
Tryptophan is an amino acid that plays a critical role in your body’s production of serotonin. It can be found in many foods like spinach, dairy products, eggs, nuts, oatmeal, brussel sprouts, and bananas. Generally speaking, it’s always best to consume your vegetables raw if you want to receive their maximum nutritional benefits.
- Strengthen your body with b-complex vitamins
Specifically vitamins B6 and B12 will help you feel happier because they are necessary for serotonin production. Taking a small daily dose will be extremely beneficial to your overall health. You should always speak to a professional though before adding vitamins to your diet and maybe have blood tests done to be safe.
- Add magnesium to your diet
It’s a shame that so few people pay attention to how much magnesium they are consuming. Research proves that magnesium helps in the production of serotonin, decreases blood pressure and positively impacts the nervous system. Magnesium consumption has helped patients with severe cases of depression. You can find magnesium in fish, bananas, peas, corn, almonds, and cashews.
- Cut back on sugar
One of the most common symptoms of a serotonin deficiency is sugar cravings. This is because we need insulin to produce some of the components of the serotonin hormone and as a result, we consume larger quantities of foods containing sugar. Unfortunately, though, sugar causes diabetes and heart disease.
- Take vitamin c
Vitamin c is linked to dopamine and epinephrine (adrenaline), which both impact our mood and help us feel better. Oranges, tomatoes, broccoli, brussel sprouts and kiwi are all great sources of vitamin c.
- Use St. John’s Wort
This herb has been proven effective for easing mild to moderate depression. It appears to work as a natural selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) by preventing the breakdown of serotonin in the brain. You can get it in tablet form so it’s easy to use throughout the day. It’s also all natural so you can consume it over longer periods of time.
- Watch the caffeine
Caffeine suppresses serotonin so if you must drink it, save it for after your meal. Replacing it with tea or other detox drinks is a much better idea.
- Take 5HTP
A nutritional supplement called 5HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan) raises serotonin levels. This is not for everybody so be sure to read the label carefully. For example, people with heart problems shouldn’t take it. Also, remember that supplements are not regulated so they may contain substances that you would prefer not to ingest. Take 5HTP for a short time to bump up serotonin, which will then stay high. You shouldn’t take it forever.
- Take A Probiotic
As much as 95 percent of the serotonin in your body is produced in your gut, so a quality probiotic goes a long way toward optimizing your mental health. Make sure you are also properly hydrating and eating a brain-healthy diet for optimal memory and cognitive function.
- Add turmeric to your diet
Turmeric has been recognized as a powerful antidepressant. Turmeric contains curcumin, an isolated polyphenol, which increases brain serotonin levels. Consider cooking with turmeric to help regulate normal serotonin levels.
Other suggestions for increasing your serotonin levels include:
Get a massage
Considering that your physical state is tied to your mental state, it follows that a good massage helps better your mood. Massages don’t only relax your muscles, but they also relax the chemistry in your body, leading to a cortisol reduction, the stress hormone in your body that negatively impacts serotonin levels.
Enjoy the sun
Modest sun exposure helps in the production of serotonin. A short walk outside is enough, even in winter when it’s cloudy. Try to spend 20-30 minutes per day outdoors.
Become more optimistic
Serotonin production is impacted by external factors like nutrition, but also by internal ones. The way you face life is very important. Find what makes you feel good and do it as often as possible. See people you love, dedicate one hour per day to a hobby or an activity you find satisfying, or participate in an event.
Working out regularly improves heart function, endorphin production, and creates a feeling of freedom within the body. Choose something you enjoy, whether it’s jogging, the gym, swimming or dance classes.
Take care of yourself
One of the basic things you have to do is to reduce stress. Stress and the consequent production of cortisol are extremely destructive to your body. If you are always putting everyone else’s needs above your own or working long hours, then you are probably suffering from high levels of stress. What you have to do is find time for yourself and for doing the things that relax and center you. Make a list of at least ten activities that help so that you don’t freeze up every time you feel pressure.
For more great nutrition information visit whatdetox.