A Serotonin Boost
Ok, so as you all know we’re heading into the winter months and we set our clocks back an hour this month, which means less daylight hours. However less sunlight could mean a drop in our Serotonin levels. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter or chemical messenger that helps the brain to function. Serotonin plays an important role in controlling our circadian rhythms. It has also been implicated in: Breathing, Heart Rate, Regulation of Blood clotting and Libido. A drop in Serotonin can decrease our drive and mood.
Have you ever heard of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)? Seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression that's related to changes in seasons. Most people like me, who suffer from SAD symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, which can sap your energy and make you feel moody. According to BrainMd.com, a site focusing on brain health and care, there are a few things we can do to help us through these long, cold dark winter months.
Break a Sweat
Daily Exercise is a serotonin intervention – it boosts serotonin in your brain. Consistent daily physical activity is one of the best ways to improve your serotonin levels and your overall brain health.
Keep your Gut in Check
Now this is an excellent tip. Did you know that much of the serotonin in your body is produced in your gut? Therefore, strategies designed to optimize gut health and the production of serotonin could certainly go a long way toward optimizing your mental health. Make sure you are taking a quality probiotic, properly hydrating, and eating a brain-healthy diet.
What Foods Can Help?
BrainMD recommends complex carbohydrates, such as sweet potatoes, carrots and garbanzo beans, as a healthier way to boost Serotonin. Some of your favorite fruits can provide a great boost of Serotonin also such as, apples, blueberries, bananas , kiwis, plums, tomatoes, pineapple, and even raw cocoa.
Brain Serotonin levels can also be raised by eating foods rich in L-tryptophan. L-tryptophan is an essential amino acid that helps the body make proteins and certain brain-signaling chemicals. Some people may unknowingly trigger cognitive inflexibility or mood problems by eating diets that are low in L-tryptophan. Food such as chicken, eggs, cheese, turkey, beef, salmon and tuna, beans, lentils, pumpkin and chia seeds, nuts, spinach and other dark green leafy vegetables, are all an excellent way to boost your L-tryptophan. Most people often notice a change in their mood within 30 minutes of eating these foods.
Now of course we have a list of a few herbs that can help increase your Serotonin. One of my favorites is of course Green Tea. A few others are Oat Straw, Ashwagandha and Lemon Balm.
As you can see we have plenty of fast serotonin boosters to choose from. Remember low serotonin can effect your over all health and mood and serotonin can drop even lower during these winter days. So do what you can to do some self care! A Happier You, might be just a few snacks away!