When we feel tired or discouraged, we can naturally raise serotonin levels. Keep reading and we will explain how.
For people who have a depressive disorder, certain medications are used. However, beyond drugs, there are other ways to increase serotonin levels naturally and improve the concentration of this neurotransmitter involved in depression.
This it is achieved with good nutrition, exercise and practicing a healthy lifestyle, relaxed, in peace and harmony. Above all, avoiding stress. Read on and learn more about how to increase serotonin levels on a daily basis.
Why are serotonin levels dropping?
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter. This chemical is involved in the transmission of nerve impulses. It is synthesized in the brain and even in the intestines, from an amino acid called tryptophan.
Although it is more often related to moods, the truth is that serotonin influences various functions. This ranges from pleasure and anxiety, through learning, to regulation of temperature, libido and appetite.
When it doesn’t synthesize well, we start to feel low-spirited., sensitive, uncomfortable, irritable, anxious and even aggressive. Symptoms of fatigue or apathy, sleep disturbances, inability to concentrate, and low self-esteem appear.
On the other hand, you can also manifest irrepressible desire to eat, especially carbohydrates. According to theories, low serotonin levels are associated with depression, obsessive-compulsive behavior and anxiety disorders.
Various factors, external and internal, can contribute to serotonin deficiency:
- Low levels of L-tryptophan.
- Poor diet in general,
- Vitamin B6 deficiency.
- Little exercise
- Lack of exposure to sunlight.
- Hormonal changes.
How to Increase Serotonin Levels Naturally
When there is a deficit, this neurotransmitter can be increased from the consumption of certain drugs. However, serotonin levels can also be increased naturally. Let’s see the recommendations in this regard.
1. Diet rich in tryptophan
As tryptophan is of fundamental importance in the production of the neurotransmitterConsuming foods rich in this amino acid will help increase serotonin levels naturally.
Fortunately, tryptophan is found in a wide variety of foods:
- Dairy in general.
- Poultry (chicken or turkey).
- Blue fish, such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, and horse mackerel.
- Fresh fruits, such as plantain or banana, plum, strawberries, pineapple, and avocados.
- Vegetables, such as beets, carrots, broccoli, and spinach.
- Legumes, such as lentils, chickpeas, and soybeans.
- Sesame and pumpkin seeds.
- Unsweetened dark chocolate.
2. Omega 3 fatty acids
Fatty acids of this type not only promote the production of serotonin, but also that of other neurotransmitters, like dopamine. There are a wide variety of foods rich in omega 3, such as fish and shellfish, nuts, cabbages, pineapple, cucumber, lettuce, flax seeds, chia and hemp.
3. Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 is an essential cofactor that must be present in the synthesis of serotonin, to facilitate the conversion of amino acids. That is why it is included in antidepressants. However, it can be consumed in rich foods such as bananas, legumes, cereals and nuts.
4. Decrease carbohydrates
When talking about foods to increase serotonin levels naturally, not only those that can be consumed should be mentioned. Too there are foods that we should avoid.
This is the case of carbohydrates, specifically refined sugars, such as those used in cookies and industrial pastries. This also applies to white bread, rice, and non-whole grains.
5. Avoid caffeine
Continuing with the substances that we should consume less, to increase serotonin levels, avoid caffeine. Aside from coffee and black tea, sodas and energy drinks are high in caffeine. This substance helps to raise the levels of adrenaline and cortisol, which generate the opposite effect to that of serotonin.
6. Manage stress
On the one hand, serotonin helps us manage stress, but on the other, high levels of stress also affect serotonin production. And that can become a vicious cycle We must break.
In short, the recommendation is to avoid or get away from everything that causes us excessive stress. This includes tense work situations, some people, and even your own thoughts.
7. Practice meditation
When it comes to managing stress levels, meditation is one of the most effective tools. The studies carried out in this regard refer to positive effects in terms of physiological and psychological well-being, helping to ward off intrusive thoughts or worries.
8. Physical activity
The benefits of exercise are known. This includes helping the metabolism of serotonin and tryptophan levels, even in schizophrenic patients, according to some research.
Yes OK aerobic exercises are usually the most recommended, you can choose the activity that you like. Walking, running, biking, or hiking all have the advantage of being outdoors. Basketball and other team sports add the competitive factor. Dance includes listening to music.
Another vitamin that also plays an important role in the production of serotonin is D. In addition to being present in some foods (dairy, cereals, fish, liver, egg), the body increases its production when exposed to sunlight.
Of course you have to take precautions. And this means that we don’t have to be burning in the sun’s rays. Simply work in spaces that receive daylight or exercise outdoors.
10. Special lamps
When there is not abundant daylight, people can use special lamps to avoid the call seasonal affective disorder. This is what is known as phototherapy.
If this is your case or that of the place where you live, or you notice that at certain times of the day you feel low spirits, you can consider this option. The lamp used is 10 000 lux, placed at 50 centimeters, for half an hour.
Among other negative consequences, lack of regular rest causes fatigue and stress. That is why a good rest is important. In addition, while we sleep, the body naturally restores serotonin levels.
It is known that the person who remains in a good mood, always laughing, is less likely to become depressed and even physically ill. Studies carried out in this regard corroborate that laughter reduces the stress generated in the hospital environment, contributing to the recovery of the patient.
Therefore, the recommendation is to carry out activities that make us laugh, such as watching funny movies or videos, attending plays of the comedy genre, meeting with funny people, telling jokes and making jokes.
And if it’s pleasant and enjoyable activities, nothing as stimulating as making love with your partner. A session of kissing, caressing and more triggers our serotonin levels to the maximum.
Is medication necessary to increase serotonin levels?
While it is true that there are mechanisms to increase serotonin levels naturally, it is also true that in some people the production of this hormone is seriously affected by various factors, as in dysthymia.
In these cases, drugs such as serotonin modulators, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin-norepinephrine, or norepinephrine-dopamine can be administered, depending on the pathology. Of course, this should only be considered under strict medical supervision.
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