Struggling with the “blues” or anxiety? Maybe your “good mood hormone” is to blame? The good news is that there are at least 10 ways to boost your mood and, in this blog post, I’m going to show you how to increase your serotonin levels naturally.
What is serotonin?
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter present above all in the central nervous system and in the gastrointestinal tract, where it is also essential for bone formation. In the digestive system serotonin controls digestion, whereas in the central nervous system this neurotransmitter is essential to control mood, sleep, appetite, learning and memory.
This is why serotonin is commonly known as the “good mood hormone” or the “feel-good hormone”.
Serotonin deficiency may lead to:
- anxiety and panic attacks,
- hypertension and insomnia.
How can we boost serotonin and how can we increase its levels in our body, if they should prove to be too low?
10 ways to increase serotonin levels naturally:
1) Foods rich in tryptophan
Our body produces serotonin from tryptophan, a substance found in different foods.
Among the foods of animal origin containing tryptophan we find eggs, milk and dairies, meat and salmon.
Tryptophan is also found in vegetal foods, such as spirulina, soy seeds, cocoa, black chocolate, potatoes, bananas, rice, whole cereals, leafy green vegetables, walnuts and almonds.
2) Foods rich in serotonin
There exist a few foods which are actual sources of serotonin. Among those cocoa and black chocolate are the most known, yet we have to include also walnuts, kiwis, pineapples, cherries, tomatoes, bananas and plums.
3) Serotonin food supplements
Are serotonin food supplements safe? As with any medications or food supplements, serotonin too should be taken on medical advice. In fact, taking serotonin food supplements may cause a few important side effects, that should not be underestimated, like drowsiness and serotonin syndrome, which includes such symptoms as anxiety, fever and nervousness.
Griffonia Seed extract is a natural supplement which is derived from the Griffonia simplicifolia plant.
This plant is a woody climbing shrub native to West and Central Africa. It can grow to as much as 3 meters in height and bears black seed pods.
The seeds of the Griffonia simplicifolia are known to contain the herbal compound 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP). Griffonia seeds contain up to 20% 5-HTP by weight.
In the body, 5-HTP is an important building block used to synthesize Serotonin. As one of the key neurotransmitters for controlling mood and sleep, increasing levels of Serotonin may alleviate anxious thoughts, promote feelings of well-being, and improve sleep.
Here are some examples of food supplements containing 5-HTP from Griffonia:
5) Abstain from caffeine
Caffeine is considered as an actual serotonin suppressor. The feeling of well-being a cup of coffee can give us is just temporary then. If serotonin levels are low, it might be advisable to abstain from drinking coffee and energy drinks rich in caffeine.
6) Abstain from simple carbohydrates
We should prefer complex carbohydrates (foods made up of whole cereals, like bread, pasta and whole rice) to simple carbohydrates (like white bread, white rice, sweets, snacks). Complex carbohydrates may boost serotonin levels.
7) Omega 3
According to scientific studies, Omega-3 may have a positive impact on serotonin functioning in the brain. In some people low serotonin levels may go with low Omega-3 and their precursors levels. Among Omega-3 sources not only do we find fish, but also walnuts, flax seeds, chia seeds and olive oil.
Consistent physical exercise and sport often mean good health. Physical exercise should be taken without making excess efforts, if we want our body to enjoy an actual feeling of wellbeing: our body is then going to release serotonin for us to take physical exercise comfortably.
9) Long walks
People who don’t do sports, shouldn’t give up on physical activities. A 30-minute walk a day is enough if we want to feel better; an open-air walk may increase the feeling of wellbeing and relaxation. Walks and physical exercise help increase tryptophan and serotonin levels.
10) Yoga and meditation
Stress may affect serotonin levels. What are the best antidotes to stress? Besides relaxing massages and long walks in the green, yoga and meditation are very ancient practices which even nowadays promote feelings of well-being. Even science guarantees: yoga and meditation are effective against anxiety, stress and depression, and help us find good mood again.
What is more, let’s not underrate the power of a hug or a simple smile – one of the best ways to increase serotonin levels naturally!
Thank you for reading How to increase serotonin levels naturally. 10 ways to boost your mood! and if you find this article useful, please comment below and share it so other people can benefit from it as well!