Increased serotonin is very important for better health. To increase serotonin levels, you should exercise regularly, improve your diet, get more light, try massage therapy, and use certain supplements. Low serotonin levels may be associated with depression, so it’s important to boost serotonin if you want to improve your mood and feel happier. Here we are going to discuss how to increase serotonin.
What is Serotonin?
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, meaning that brain and nervous system cells use it to communicate with one another. It’s a hormone that maintains our mood and general well-being, while also regulating several brain functions like appetite, learning, sleep, memory, and cognition.
How to Increase Serotonin?
Exercise can increase serotonin levels, as well as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) activity. The BDNF gene makes a protein that stimulates nerve cells and is found in areas of the brain that control body weight, eating, and drinking. BDNF and serotonin levels are thought to be related to regulating mood. Because exercise stimulates BDNF activity, it is commonly associated with an improved mood. Any type of exercise that you enjoy from walking to yoga to cycling can be effective at boosting serotonin. Winsberg recommends getting at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise three times per week.
Improve Your Diet
Serotonin is derived from the essential amino acid known as tryptophan. Because your body does not naturally produce it, you must get tryptophan from your diet. Incorporating foods into your meals that contain high amounts of tryptophan can increase serotonin levels.
Get More Light
If you’ve ever heard of the term seasonal depression, also known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), then you know how vital sunlight can be to your happiness and wellbeing. As winter approaches, it starts getting darker much earlier in the day, which may affect your mood and make you more prone to sadness. The brain produces serotonin in response to sun and daylight. If you are prone to depression or seasonal affective disorder, getting out once a day in mid-day for a short walk can be very helpful.
Try A Massage
Massage therapy can effectively boost serotonin levels by an average of 28%. Massages can decrease cortisol and increase serotonin, making you calmer and thus helping to regulate your mood.
Certain supplements can quickly boost serotonin levels by increasing tryptophan, the amino acid that you can get from the foods listed above. It’s always important to check in with a doctor before taking any supplements, especially if you also take prescription medication. Some supplements you can take to boost serotonin include:
SAMe (S-adenosyl-L-methionine): Negative effects of SAMe are not common, but it may negatively impact those who are immunocompromised or have bipolar disorder.
St. John’s Wort: This supplement works for some people, but not all. It may make other medications like hormonal birth control, cancer treatment drugs, or blood clotting medication less effective.
5HTP: A 2013 study found this supplement may work just as well as antidepressants, but only for those with early symptoms of depression.
How to Increase Serotonin Naturally?
Naturally, increasing serotonin depends on natural foods. You should maintain the natural foods regularly to increase serotonin naturally. Foods that can increase serotonin levels include eggs, cheese, turkey, nuts, salmon, tofu, and pineapple.
Serotonin Rich Foods
Salmon is a rich source of tryptophan, which is important for producing serotonin. In addition to helping increase serotonin levels, it contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids that are beneficial for the skin, heart, and bones. Salmon also contains Vitamin D, which is important for healthy bones and to aid in serotonin production.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are natural sources of tryptophan and protein, as well as an adequate salmon replacement for those who prefer a vegetarian diet. Almost any variety of nuts or seeds is an excellent choice for snacking or adding to a meal, and much whole grain bread is now available with them baked within.
Turkey and Poultry
Turkey and poultry are also full of tryptophan and are good sources of protein. Many people think we take naps after a big Thanksgiving meal full of turkey, and there is a tiny sliver of truth to it, but generally, it’s because we eat a lot of everything. Still, the tryptophan in the turkey can help with the good feelings we enjoy during the holiday.
Eggs are packed with protein and are a favorite staple of athletes and bodybuilders. Be aware of the way eggs are prepared though, to get the full health benefit. Boiled and poached eggs are the healthiest ways to cook them without adding any fat like when they are fried.
Tofu and Soy
Tofu is made of soy, and it is full of tryptophan. Soymilks have become popular in recent years, and soy products are a popular way for vegans and vegetarians to get tryptophan without eating meat.
Milk and Cheese
Cheese and milk are excellent sources of tryptophan and as a bonus, they are rich in calcium for healthy bones and teeth. To stay on the healthy side, choose milk and cheese that are low in fat to receive all the benefits without gaining weight.
Pineapple contains plenty of tryptophan to boost serotonin in the brain.
Why is Serotonin Important?
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that carries signals to regulate many different bodily functions. Without it, the body’s bowel functions can suffer causing digestive and gut bacteria problems. As an example, some types of food can irritate the intestinal lining, and in these cases, serotonin can help push the food through faster to reduce the time and amount of irritation.
The serotonin neurotransmitter also works with efficient blood clotting. Platelet cells release serotonin with tissue damage, which results in vasoconstriction. This is an important part of the process for blood clots to form when necessary.
Bone density may also be affected by serotonin. When bone density levels are too high, there is often a correlation with osteoporosis, a condition that causes the bones to become porous and weak, which in turn increases the chances of a fracture.
Unbalanced serotonin levels can also lead to affecting the way sexual functions work. In some cases, it increases sexual desire, while in other instances, a decrease in sexual desire might occur.