Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, or chemical messenger, which plays an important role in many processes throughout your body. In simple English, this means that high serotonin levels have a positive effect on your overall wellbeing, from regulating your mood and contributing to proper brain functioning, to promoting smooth digestion. Below we shared some of the best ways to boost your serotonin without medications.
Everything starts with diet. Incorporating serotonin-promoting foods in your daily nutrition and, of course, drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day, proves to be very beneficial for correct brain functioning and energy levels. Salmon, spinach, seeds, nuts and soy products are only some of the good sources of protein, healthy fats and fibre, which help increase serotonin. Instead of junk food, snack on a few nuts between meals and have a glass of soy milk. Additionally, such a diet will help you achieve or maintain your desired body figure.
Besides food, there are other sources of, so called, “serotonin vitamins”. Although there is no such thing as a serotonin vitamin, there are plenty of supplements known to affect the levels of serotonin. For instance, vitamin D is shown to modulate normal levels of serotonin, and therefore protects from serotonin deficits associations with psychiatric disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity or bipolar disorder. Taking omega-3 acids, vitamin D and probiotics you can easily find in different foods such as yogurt, are great ways to optimize serotonin signaling.
Various studies found that physical activity can decrease stress hormones, reduce symptoms of depression, and boost serotonin levels. Even mild regular exercise, like cycling or hiking, can help you feel better both mentally and physically. If you’re one of the many who find working out tiring and dull, get a pro tennis racket or dig out your old roller skaters and recreate with your friends with lots of fun and a bit of competitive spirit. The possibilities really are endless, from playing frisbee in your backyard, through to dance classes and gym sessions. Choose whatever’s your cup of tea and drink it up on a daily basis.
It’s no coincidence that people living in sunny states tend to smile, and they are generally more positive and energetic than those living in colder states. As we mentioned before, vitamin D is one of the main serotonin promoters. Research suggests that spending time in the sunshine helps increase serotonin levels, contributing to your overall mood. Hence the seasonal affective disorder, known as SAD and characterised by disrupted sleep, lack of energy and low mood. People are affected by SAD during the winter months when there is less daylight and almost no sunshine. Getting some daylight every day is crucial for improving your mood, so make sure you’re catching as much sun as possible, but of course – be prepared with proper protection from harmful UV rays.
Needless to say, massage does both your brain and body good. Massage therapy is, among other things, a well-known stress-reliever, particularly popular in the Far East. If you ever wondered how a massage actually contributes to your mood and health – it helps increase serotonin and dopamine. These two most important mood-related neurotransmitters work together with the aim of decreasing cortisone, a hormone your body produces when stressed. Although professional massage therapies can be costly, it’s definitely worth it to pamper yourself once in a while. Another alternative is swapping with your partner in giving a massage once a week or so – you’ll both enjoy and benefit from it.
Besides contributing to a good mood, increased serotonin can help fight depression, anxiety, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. While it’s impossible to run away from daily stress, work pressure, and general obligations, we can try to minimise their consequences by maintaining a healthy lifestyle and taking care of our body and mind. Take note of the tips we shared above and boost your serotonin naturally.
Diana Smith is a full time mom of two beautiful girls interested in business and marketing related topics.
In her free time she enjoys exercising and preparing healthy meals for her family.