As a neurotransmitter, serotonin helps to regulate our mood and even maintain healthy digestion. It can also help regulate our circadian rhythms, which helps us get a good night’s sleep. It creates a generally positive feeling.
So when serotonin levels are low, we tend to feel anxious or even depressed. Our sleep suffers and we may even have a decreased appetite.
However, while there are numerous pharmaceuticals available to help boost serotonin levels, how can we boost serotonin more naturally?
Well, we’ve got some solutions.
Better Diet and Nutrition
Before we get into how nutrients can boost serotonin, we need to discuss how tryptophan plays a role.
Serotonin can’t be created from food alone. Instead, it’s converted from the amino acid tryptophan, which is found in protein-rich foods.
Although it would seem like the answer is to reach for tryptophan-rich foods, this is not quite true. That’s because we have a sheath-like, blood-brain barrier that protects our brains from the more abundant amino acids that try to cross with the tryptophan.
To help more tryptophan cross, research has found that come carbs could be the key.
- Complex carbohydrates — Instead of binging on simple carbs like pasta and bread, reach for complex carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes, carrots, apples, and beans.
- High L-tryptophan — Also reach for foods like eggs, turkey, salmon, and dark leafy greens, which are high in L-tryptophan.
- Whole grains — Digested more slowly, whole grains release slowly as well.
- Water — Another tip is to stay hydrated. This helps assist in proper neurological functioning and is vital for energy levels.
Get Adequate Exercise
Exercise is a great way to boost your serotonin levels naturally. Even if you can’t get outside, such as in colder winter months, there are several winterproof alternatives to outdoor exercise.
Like certain foods, exercises that get your heart rate up can release tryptophan into your bloodstream while decreasing the amino acids. Even a brisk walk in the park can do your serotonin levels good.
We recommend spending at least 15 minutes outside each and every day. Whether this means you’re simply walking to work or getting that adequate exercise we just mentioned, seek some sunlight whenever you get the opportunity.
Also, remember to wear non-toxic sunscreen anytime—summer or winter—that you’re outdoors.
Get a Massage or Schedule Acupuncture
Treat your body well inside and out. Massage therapy increases serotonin as well as dopamine (a second neurotransmitter). And because massages and acupuncture is a relaxing experience, it can reduce stress and decrease Cortisol too.
We’ve covered several natural ways to boost serotonin. Some you can easily do yourself (like getting outside), while others may need some assistance.
Fortunately, Naturna offers assistance through acupuncture and can even help with nutritional counseling, steering you straight with a more tailored diet to naturally boost serotonin levels.
If you’re experiencing anxiousness or lack of proper sleep, there may be a drop in serotonin. Schedule a session with one of our practitioners and let us help.
Sansone RA, Sansone LA. Sunshine, serotonin, and skin: a partial explanation for seasonal patterns in psychopathology?. Innov Clin Neurosci. 2013;10(7-8):20–24. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3779905/#idm139825753245952title