It’s safe to say that lockdown has left many of us feeling stressed, anxious and mentally drained. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, or chemical messenger, that’s involved in many processes throughout your body, from regulating your mood to promoting smooth digestion. Boosting serotonin is the best way to get you back on track and feeling great again. Here are five easy ways you can boost your serotonin naturally.
Serotonin does not directly come from food but tryptophan does. Tryptophan is an amino acid that is covered to serotonin in your brain. You can get high levels of Tryptophan from high protein foods such as turkey and salmon. However it is difficult for the Tryptophan amino acid to reach your brain because blood-brain barriers protect it and control what goes in and out of your brain. Research suggests that if you eat carbohydrate foods with foods that are high in tryptophan it may increase the chances of more tryptophan entering your brain. You should try eating tryptophan rich foods with 25 – 30 grams of carbohydrate foods.
Exercise decreases the amount of amino acids in your blood but it increases the amount of tryptophan released into your blood. This makes it easier for the tryptophan amino acid to reach your brain and boost your serotonin. The main aim is to get your heart rate up and Aerobic exercises such a swimming, bicycling, jogging, dancing seem to have the most amount of effect.
3. Bright light
Research shows that your level of serotonin tends to be lower in the winter months and higher in the summer months. It also suggests that your skin may be able to synthesise serotonin through the sunlight. Therefore spending time in the sunshine will increase your serotonin levels. You should aim to spend 10 to 15 minutes outside each day or even complete your aerobic exercise outside to double the boost of your serotonin levels.
Receiving a massage increases your level of serotonin and dopamine. It decreases cortisol which is a hormone your body produces when you are stressed. Research shows that women who receive a 20 minute massage from their partner twice a week felt less anxious and depressed. They also gained higher levels of serotonin after 16 weeks. Therefore, to increase your levels of serotonin ask a friend, family member or partner to massage you for 20 minutes twice a week.
5. Mood induction
Some research believes that low levels of serotonin can have a negative impact on your mood but being in a good mood can increase your serotonin levels. If you think about something that makes you feel good the level of serotonin in your brain will increase and you mood will be improved. To help you feel good you should think about a happy memory, think about positive experienced with loved ones or look through photos of things that make you happy such as, places you’ve been, your friends, pets etc.