Serotonin is neurotransmitter which plays an important role in many mental disorders, so it is no wonder that many drugs target serotonin in the brain. For instance, most antidepressants are actually selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.
Specifically, they inhibit serotonin transport and increase the extracellular concentrations of the neurotransmitter in the brain. If you are interested in boosting serotonin in an all-natural way, read on!
1. Manage your carbohydrate intake
Even though carbohydrates trigger a release of serotonin, consuming them in excess can be counterproductive. They don’t help with ongoing release of this neurotransmitter, but give you an instant boost. Eating an excessive amount of carbohydrates actually makes you feel sluggish and depressed. This doesn’t mean that you should completely avoid carbs, though. If your diet is very low in carbohydrates, the production of serotonin is hindered. So, balance is the key!
2. Eat tryptophan-rich foods
Tryptophan is directly turned into serotonin in the brain, so it makes sense that you need to eat foods that are abundant in this amino acid. Some of those foods include cottage cheese, eggs, beans, chicken, fish, and nuts.
To get the most of it, combine tryptophan-rich foods with a small amount of complex carbohydrates like brown rice, legumes, or nuts, all of which help the brain process the tryptophan and boost serotonin levels in an all-natural way.
3. Eat the right fats
Fat is needed for the ongoing functioning of the internal systems. Specifically, you need essential fatty acids for the hormones and neurotransmitters like serotonin to be in balance. It is recommended to eat plenty of omega-3 fats, which can be found in fish, eggs, avocados, nuts, seeds, and flaxseed products.
4. Exercise on a regular basis
Exercising on a regular basis is beneficial for the overall health, including mental health. Specifically, exercise triggers the release of serotonin, dopamine, and various endorphins. Serotonin and dopamine work in synergy to boost mood! It is recommended to exercise for at least twenty minutes a day, even if you don’t need to lose weight.
5. Optimize your sleep
Lying in bed all day is something that most depressed people do. However, this doesn’t boost your mood and the time you get during this extra time in bed isn’t quality sleep. Too boost your serotonin levels, it is important to get up early every day.
It has been scientifically shown that light exposure boosts serotonin levels, so sleeping during the day causes you to miss out on this booster. Balance is the key when it comes to sleep, so make sure you don’t sleep too much, but don’t deprive yourself of sleep either.
Getting enough sleep equates to getting eight hours of sleep, although this can vary. If you are unable to get adequate sleep during the night, feel free to take a short nap during the day. Make sure it doesn’t go longer than half an hour.