Feel Good Foods-How to Naturally Increase Serotonin
Have you heard of “happy hormones?” Certain hormones can naturally lift your mood, giving you an instant feeling of mental well-being. And one of the key happy hormones is serotonin. Let’s take a look at how to increase serotonin levels naturally. What is Serotonin?
Serotonin is what’s known as a neurotransmitter. Neurotransmitters are tiny chemical messengers in the brain that help relay communication between nerve cells. Serotonin receptors are also chiefly responsible for moderating your mood, your sense of well-being, and your happiness.
They can also help regulate your eating and sleeping habits.
What Happens When You Don’t Have Enough Serotonin?
If you don’t have enough serotonin in your brain, you might experience a wide variety of mood-related conditions. That’s not exactly a pleasant place to find yourself. But what causes these low serotonin levels?
- Genetically having fewer serotonin receptors
- Low levels of vitamin D (potentially not enough sun)
- Low levels of the amino acid tryptophan (which converts to serotonin)
- Recreational drugs (which can lead to serotonin depletion)
- High levels of the stress hormone cortisol
- Blood sugar issues that affect the transportation of tryptophan across the blood-brain barrier3-7
Happy Foods That Boost Serotonin Levels
Serotonin isn’t found in food, but the amino acid tryptophan is – and tryptophan helps your body to produce serotonin. Amino acids combine to form proteins, which means that tryptophan is found in many protein-rich foods.8
- Salmon and other fatty, wild-caught seafood
- Eggs (choose omega-3 eggs)
- Cheese, whole or low-fat milk, and other dairy (stick to Southern European A-2 dairy)
- Leafy greens
- Nuts and Seeds (like macadamia, almonds, walnuts, pistachios, flaxseed)
- Foods high in folic acid (vitamin B9) such as citrus fruits (when in season), leafy greens, asparagus, beets, and broccoli
- Foods high in vitamin B6, such as green bananas, shrimp, tuna, and spinach9-11*Don’t forget to choose mood-boosting meats that are grass-fed or pasture-raised.
What About Fermented Foods?
Interestingly, eating foods that are fermented are also great choices to potentially help boost serotonin – but for a very different reason. You see, about 95% of serotonin is produced in your gut. So, the production of serotonin is highly influenced by the “good” bacteria that hangs out there.12
- Goat or coconut milk yogurt
- Kombucha (low sugar only please)
To find out more click the link below to read the full story.