Our body is, for sure, a masterpiece by God when we observe the way and mechanisms it follows to sustain us.
The massive gamut of biochemicals, organs, cells, tissues all synchronize in a way that we are left in amazement every time.
This article deliberates one such chemical of our system that goes by the name Serotonin.
It is fundamentally a neurotransmitter, which means it is a chemical messenger obliged to communicate info throughout the brain and body.
Serotonin is produced from an amino acid called tryptophan, which can be sourced from various foods, discussed further in the article.
Primarily, serotonin is found in our central nervous system, blood platelets and digestive tract.
What does serotonin do in our body?
This neurotransmitter has different functions to perform based on where is it resorting, such as:
In the digestive tract
It helps in contraction of intestinal muscles to help food move through the system.
Another role is to stimulate gut nerves to signal pain and nausea.
For instance, irritants in the food might trigger increased serotonin production, so that toxic grub moves through the digestive gut faster.
And thus results diarrhoea, hence protecting us.
In blood platelets
It assists in stopping blood flow through the wounds and thus prevents blood loss.
It does so by inducing the blood vessels to become narrower and lowering the blood flow.
In the brain
Serotonin is associated with feelings of happiness and well-being. It helps to elevate our spirits and mood, which is why lees serotonin can be responsible for depression and anxiety.
It might even affect our sleep, appetite and increase anxiety in a person. This neurotransmitter is also busy regulating our body temperature and cognition.
Natural ways to improve your serotonin levels and mental health
Now that you are quite clued-up with the necessity and functions of serotonin in our body, we can imagine the consequences its deficit can pose.
You might have to grapple with gut issues, sleep difficulties, mental distress, anxiety, stress, blood clotting problems and so forth.
Therefore, it is crucial to maintain its optimum concentrations in the body.
And you can do so by following some natural tips.
Yes, you heard it right, serotonin levels can be raised without squandering your wealth over unnecessary supplements.
These measures can increase the levels of serotonin circulating in the blood to ascertain the benefits delivered by this chemical.
Increase the intake of tryptophan
Tryptophan is an important amino acid found in foods like chicken, dairy, cheese, eggs, pineapple, fish especially salmon, broccoli, kale and other veggies.
Our body employs tryptophan by converting it into vitamin B/ Niacin, which plays an important art in the synthesis of serotonin.
To make up for your serotonin concentration, you can resort to supplements containing tryptophan.
Taking these in moderate amounts can be beneficial.
Some tryptophan supplements that are highly recommended are 5-HTP, L-tryptophan and St. John’s Wort.
These supplements are widely available over the counter, still it is better to consult a physician before getting your hands on to one.
This is because if used with birth control pills, cancer drugs or antidepressants, it can inflict unpleasant responses.
Bask in the sun
Lack of sunlight can cause lowering of serotonin in the body.
This was observed from seasonal affective disorder, which has symptoms akin to depression but exclusively hits in winter.
Therefore, it is crucial to let some warmth of sun seep into your system.
This would help to boost your serotonin levels and hence your mood as well.
However, be mindful to enjoy the sun when it is not too hot and avoid applying sunscreen at the time.
Ten minutes of sun basking is adequate.
Or if you are living in an area where sunlight is scarcely availed, you may make use of a light therapy box.
This device mimics natural outdoor light and has been proven to be effective.
Control your stress levels
You are a busy person and got so much to handle, which ultimately freaks you out and heighten the stress.
However, being anxious or stressful does not make you work more efficiently, rather it is the enemy of your productivity.
Be wise and practical, and look for the techniques to manage your stress such as meditation, yoga, physical activities, spending time with loved ones, practising gratitude and so on.
This is important since higher the levels of stress, more is the production of a hormone called cortisol.
This hormone works counteractively against serotonin, thus lowering it in the body.
You can hit the nearby spa and get a relaxing massage to beat cortisol caused by chronic stress.
Consuming carbohydrates can tentatively increase serotonin by enabling amino acid tryptophan to get into the brain.
However, foods which are particularly high in the concentration of this feel-good hormone are bananas and walnuts.
Eating these often can directly boost your serotonin levels and help you make calmer and cheerful.
simple aerobic exercises such as walking, swimming, yoga, swimming, is great and effective way to increase serotonin as well as endorphin levels naturally.
And doing these fun exercises outdoors in sunlight shall give manifold rise in this substance.
Vitamin D we muster from sunlight is directly associated with optimization of various other hormones, including serotonin, as discussed above.
Keep your gut healthy
It is important to maintain balance of gut friendly bacteria as these are associated with our health and immunity.
Serotonin as well rests upon a fit gut, since 80-90% of its concentration is found in gastro-intestinal tract.
Researchers assert importance and role of healthy gut in immunity, cognition, weight-control, hormonal balance and happiness.
Studies have revealed that individuals who spend more of their time with their friends, family or loved ones are higher than usual on the neurotransmitter.
Socialization is linked to increase in the levels of oxytocin also called a “cuddle hormone” which in turn triggers production of serotonin in the body.
There are numerous researches coming out day after day asserting role of meditation on increasing serotonin levels.
Few minutes of meditation in the morning can set you ready for the day.
Besides enhancing this feel-good hormone in the body, it also improves immunity, concentration, allay chronic pain, and of course make you feel contented and happier.
Good levels of serotonin or happy hormone is vital to elate your mood, make you calm and happy.
Any imbalance in its needed concentration can make you feel low, depressed or anxious.
There are several ways you can boost your serotonin naturally such as diet, exercise, managing stress, good sleep, meditation and in some cases, you can resort to supplements.