Many people know serotonin as the ‘feel good hormone’. The serotonin hormone is responsible for the regulation of moods and to some degree, depression risk. Our moods are able to determine how we are able to face reality and experience the world all around us. Having a consistently foul mood is bound to bring with it a barrage of rough experiences.
The serotonin hormone is a precursor to melatonin. Given that melatonin is quite essential in the regulation of sleep, serotonin is all the more important.
Doing things that make us happy like hanging with friends, listening to music, falling in love, and taking nature walks increase our serotonin levels
‘Trusting my gut feeling’ is a phrase that was probably conjured up by some clever individuals. This is because vast amounts of serotonin are actually produced in the gut. In fact, about 90% of the serotonin in our bodies originates from the gut. In the gut, serotonin is essential in triggering necessary contractions that push food through the gastric intestinal tract. Serotonin is also essential in triggering nausea and vomiting sensations.
Given all of the aforementioned benefits of serotonin in our bodies, it is important to ensure that we always keep our serotonin levels at optimum condition. We’ve highlighted a couple of tips to keep serotonin levels in check.
Diet on Tryptophan
Tryptophan is an amino acid that is essential for the production of serotonin. Increasing dietary uptake in tryptophan is a sure fire way to boost serotonin levels in the body.
Foods rich in tryptophan include eggs, lean meat, dairy foods, seeds, and nuts. Both vegetarians and meat junkies can consume tryptophan. Thus, the amino acids are easily accessible to a wide range of people. Increasing serotonin levels can lead to an improved feel-good factor.
Stress chemicals like cortisol can be combated by staying positive and taking proper care of ourselves
Massage can have therapeutic functions other than just pain relief of muscular tensions. A good massage session can help take the pressure off and greatly improve our mood.
Research conducted on individuals after massage sessions showed a noticeable 30% reduction in levels of cortisol, better known as the stress hormone. Incredibly, serotonin levels were noted to peak right after the massage sessions. It is important to note that high levels of cortisol in the body hinder the development of serotonin.
Vitamin B6 and B12
While all vitamins in the B family are important in body functioning, two of them stand out when it comes to raising the levels of serotonin in the body. They are vitamins B6 and vitamin B12.
Sources of these vitamins can be found in fish, eggs, soya beans, poultry, pork, wholegrain cereals, peanuts, milk, cod, and cheese. One can also choose to take these vitamins in doses, at about 50-100mg daily after consultation with their physician.
Getting out while the sun is shining helps boost the production of serotonin in the brain. This is true even when there is cloud cover hindering a proper sunbath. Therefore, irrespective of underlying weather conditions and season, going outside massively helps the body begin the production of serotonin.
About 75% of Americans are said to be deficient in magnesium
Most people are unfamiliar with what magnesium really is and whether it plays any role in our diets. The magnesium mineral is vital since it is responsible for a whole host of functions like blood pressure regulation, nerve function regulation, and serotonin balancing.
Some foods that contain magnesium are dark leafy greens (spinach, kale), legumes (black beans, kidney beans, chickpeas), seafood (tuna, salmon, mackerel), fruits (avocado, raspberries, bananas, figs), and vegetables (asparagus, green beans, broccoli, peas, artichokes).
Sugar cravings are usually an indicator of low serotonin levels in the body. This is because insulin is necessary to produce some essential components of serotonin. While sugar is important in the body, when consumed in large doses, it tends to have a counter effect leading to a mood crash. In effect, this means that even though sugar is necessary to kick-start the production of serotonin, when taken in excess, it reverses the effects of it.
It is thus paramount for us to seek alternative ways to produce serotonin in our bodies without risking our health. This is because sugar is associated with ailments like diabetes and heart disease.
Getting out and about while the sun’s shining helps improve serotonin levels massively. When this is coupled with some workout to boot, the results are greatly beneficial for the mind and body. Any activity that gets the heart pumping tends to elevate serotonin levels in the body and the endorphins responsible for making us feel fantastic.
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