There are times when we feel overwhelmed and don’t know why. Nothing special happened but we couldn’t reach a satisfactory mood. In these cases, the cause may be low serotonin levels.
An acute lifestyle, poor diet, and lack of exercise cause our serotonin levels to drop, resulting in highly variable and generally low moods. however, there are ways to naturally increase serotonin. We will see them throughout this article.
Serotonin: the hormone of happiness
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that it is synthesized, among many other places, in our brain. Traditionally, it has been referred to as the “Happiness Particle” or the “Happiness Neurotransmitter”.
The reason is that serotonin is the main one responsible for regulating our mood. This neurotransmitter, which also plays a key role in regulating our bowel function, has the ability to perform the chemical reactions necessary to increase our sense of well-being and satisfaction.
Likewise, serotonin can help us cope better with daily stress and tension. However, when stress levels are drastically high, it tends to decrease. We therefore run the risk of experiencing emotional instability.
In addition, a serotonin deficiency, associated with a whole series of external and internal factors, can facilitate the appearance and development of any type of depressive disorder. The reason is that when our body stops synthesizing, due to stress, deficiencies in our diet, etc., we are less able to controlling the ups and downs of our mood.
This happiness neurotransmitter is synthesized in our body through the action of tryptophan. This molecule is an essential amino acid essential for the proper functioning of our brain. Fortunately, tryptophan is found in a variety of foodsSo consuming these, along with a healthy lifestyle, can help us increase serotonin levels and therefore make us feel much better.
How to increase the amount of serotonin in the brain?
As mentioned above, there are ways to increase the levels of serotonin in our body. While there are artificial ways to keep our serotonin levels high, there are many other natural, and much more satisfying, ways to raise.
Below we will see a number of recommendations or things we can do when we feel that our mood is not very positive.
1. Try to reduce stress levels
As mentioned at the beginning of the article, serotonin can help us better manage stress. However, when the levels of it are excessive, it is stress that exerts a detrimental influence on serotonin.
Constant stress lowers serotonin and increases our blood levels of estradiol, the stress hormone, lower our defenses and worsen our health both physical and psychological.
In addition, another effect of stress is linked to diet, a pillar of good synthesis and maintenance of serotonin levels. When we feel stressed, our body asks us for foods rich in fats, carbohydrates and sugars; three of the main enemies of serotonin.
So, we don’t have to wait to feel overwhelmed start worrying about our stress and diet, but it’s best to maintain a healthy lifestyle that helps us avoid, or at least counter, this cavity
2. A varied diet rich in tryptophan
We must stress the importance of achieving a nutritionally varied and balanced diet. Most foods contain tryptophan. However, there are a number that stand out for their high content of this amino acid. These are:
- Turkey and chicken.
- blue fish.
- Pineapple, avocados and plums.
- Spinach, beets, carrots, Bees, dates and broccoli.
- Nuts (which also provide magnesium and omega-3s).
- Whole grains and brown rice.
- Sesame and pumpkin seeds.
- Legumes like chickpeas, lentils or soybeans.
- Dark chocolate.
- Spirulina algae.
Therefore, eating a healthy diet containing these foods on a daily basis will help us meet our tryptophan needs and therefore keep our serotonin levels high.
3. Avoid the consumption of simple carbohydrates
Simple carbohydrates are highly refined sugars that are digested very quickly and they have virtually no nutritional valueAs they do not contain enough essential nutrients.
Foods that contain simple carbohydrates include:
- Pastry and confectionery with refined sugar.
- Wholemeal pasta.
- White rice.
- White bread.
4. Increase omega-3 intake
In addition to tryptophan, there are many other elements found in foods that can help us increase our serotonin levels. A diet rich in fatty acids, such as omega-3s, Promotes the production and regulation of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine and adrenaline.
One of the main sources of healthy fats is blue fish and seafood. However, there are other foods such as avocado, walnuts and flax, chia and hemp seeds, Foods rich in alfalinoleic acid.
5. Avoid drinking coffee and stimulating drinks
Drinks rich in caffeine, such as coffee or certain types of carbonated drinks or energy drinks, increase the secretion of adrenaline and cortisol; substances which, as we have seen previously, are the main antagonists of serotonin.
In addition, these drinks are also characterized by their high sugar content, which makes them extremely exciting foods with very low nutritional value.
It is well known that exercise helps serotonin metabolism and therefore increases its levels.
For this reason, regular physical activity can help us keep our serotonin levels high because it also increases our tryptophan levels.
7. Look for sunny and very bright places.
Another compound that has a powerful effect on the production of serotonin is vitamin D. In addition to food, this vitamin D increases with exposure to the sun. These rays of the sun are a very important help in obtaining vitamin D, because it is synthesized in the skin from the rays of this one.
In this way, working in bright spaces, exercising outside or taking a walk in nature will be perfect allies to feel good and emotionally stable.
8. Get the hours you need
Lack of sleep is another major enemy in our fight against stress and fatigue. While we sleep, our body restores our serotonin levelsSo, proper rest will also be essential to keep our sanity intact.