Serotonin is one of the important happy hormones. Try natural ways to increase serotonin levels in the body, instead of medication!

Serotonin is a chemical or hormone that is linked to regulating our mood and plays a crucial role in maintaining our overall mental health. Low serotonin levels are linked to various mental health conditions. While some people turn to medications to boost serotonin levels, there are various natural ways to boost serotonin levels in the body.

What is serotonin?

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter primarily found in the brain. It is known for its role in regulating mood, sleep, appetite, and various physiological functions. It is often termed the “feel-good” neurotransmitter due to its influence on promoting feelings of well-being and happiness, says physician Dr Dipak Patade.

ways to boost serotonin naturally
There are various ways to boost serotonin levels naturally. Image courtesy: Freepik

What does serotonin do in my body?

In the body, serotonin serves crucial functions in regulating mood, appetite, digestion, sleep, memory, and sexual desire. It facilitates communication between nerve cells and affects the functioning of muscles, blood vessels, and organs. Low serotonin levels are associated with mood disorders like depression, anxiety, and insomnia, as well as conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and migraines.

What are the problems associated with low serotonin levels?

Symptoms of low serotonin levels may manifest as:

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• Low mood
• Irritability
• Anxiety
• Fatigue
• Poor appetite
• Difficulty sleeping.

How to increase serotonin naturally without medication?

People start consuming medications to boost serotonin levels in the body. However, there are many natural ways to increase serotonin production in the body.

1. Sunlight exposure

Sunlight has a direct impact on mood and serotonin levels in the body. So, serotonin levels tend to reduce during winter and increase in the summer season. “Exposure to sunlight stimulates serotonin production in the brain. Aim for 15-30 minutes of sunlight exposure daily, particularly in the morning,” suggests the expert.

Spending time in nature is also known to boost serotonin levels in the body. A study analyzing 53 subjects looked at the effects of forest therapy on middle-aged women. The results indicated that women who spent more time in nature experienced a significant increase in serotonin levels in the body.

2. Regular exercise

Physical exercise boosts serotonin levels by inducing the release of tryptophan into your blood. More tryptophan production means a reduction in the number of amino acids. This creates an ideal environment for more tryptophan to reach parts of your brain. Aerobic exercises like swimming, bicycling, brisk walking, and jogging can get your heart rate up, thereby increasing serotonin levels in the body. Strive for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise on most days of the week.

ways to boost serotonin in the body
Serotonin levels in the body can boost a lot by working out or through stress management. Image courtesy: Adobe stock

3. Healthy diet

It is difficult to get serotonin directly from food, but you can get tryptophan, an amino acid that gets converted into serotonin in your brain from various foods. Foods rich in tryptophan, a precursor to serotonin, can elevate serotonin levels. Include items like turkey, chicken, eggs, nuts, seeds, tofu, salmon, and dairy products in your diet. Try to at least consume tryptophan-rich food with 25 to 30 grams of carbohydrates.

4. Stress management

As per research, chronic stress can deplete serotonin levels. “Practices such as mindfulness meditation, deep breathing exercises, yoga, and spending time in nature can mitigate stress and enhance serotonin production,” suggests the expert.

5. Quality sleep

Optimal sleep is imperative for maintaining optimal serotonin levels. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep nightly by establishing a regular sleep schedule, implementing a relaxing bedtime routine, and optimizing your sleep environment.

Check out some more ways to boost serotonin naturally!

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