Serotonin is a chemical compound that is known to have an effect on mood. It is believed that decreased serotonin levels are responsible for depression in adults. Clinical scientists have long tried to formulate drugs to stabilise serotonin levels. These are often used in the treatment of depression, headaches and nausea. But there are a number of ways to naturally increase the levels of serotonin in our bodies:
Exercise – Let’s start with the most basic form. We’ve all heard experts extoll the importance of regular exercise. You should aim for around 45 minutes of moderate exercise per day. But did you know that there are links between regular exercise and increased brain function?
Light – Try to expose yourself to natural light as much as possible. It’s thought that the role of sunlight has a direct influence on mood. In the winter or at night time, use a 300-watt bulb for a temporary serotonin boost.
Garcinia Cambogia – The ancient herb has become a staple for good health. Boasts an impressive array of weight loss properties. The best Garcinia Cambogia extract is also known to increase serotonin levels and suppress appetite.
Nuts – Particularly nuts from the walnut family, such as Brazil nuts and almonds. Just a handful of these nuts per day is also known to decrease blood pressure.
Dark Chocolate – The resveratrol found in dark chocolate releases endorphins that boost serotonin levels. This is the reason behind the link between chocolate and happiness. If you’re a chocoholic, it’s time to rejoice!
Pineapple – High in tryptophan. Pineapples are a popular choice for those looking to increase melatonin levels in particular. Melatonin is helpful in promoting sleep. Alternatively, try other tropical fruits like banana and kiwi fruit. Tomatoes, plums and cherries also have the same effect.
Complex Carbs – Complex carbs are absorbed slowly throughout the day, which helps regulate mood. Eat lots of legumes, whole grains and brown rice. Avoid white bread and products containing refined sugar.
Avoid Caffeine – Before you brew your pot of morning coffee, think twice. Caffeine is known to suppress serotonin levels, which is responsible for the energy crash later in the day.
Healthy Fats – Oily fish containing high levels of Omega-3 affects how serotonin functions in the brain.
Massage – It’s not as crazy as it sounds. There are several studies to suggest that massage therapy also reduces stress hormones. And it feels pretty great, too. Get yourself to the nearest parlour for an easy serotonin boost.
Tryptophan – An amino acid that interacts with serotonin production. Typical protein foods are good sources of tryptophan. Think about increasing things like eggs, cheese, red meat and poultry in your diet. For vegetarians and vegans; try soy, chickpeas and seeds for the same effect.
Turmeric – The much loved Indian spice contains an active ingredient called curcumin. This increases both serotonin and dopamine.
Green Tea – Rich in antioxidants and proven to boost the metabolism. Also known to increase serotonin and dopamine in the brain. Enjoy a cup after meals, as this will reduce the effect caffeine can have on your system.