How to Increase Serotonin
Taken from tryptophan hydrolase, an essential amino acid, serotonin is a neurotransmitter widely known to be the cause of feelings of well-being in humans. This is why it is more popularly known as the “happy hormone”. Serotonin is found mainly in the central nervous system (DNS), blood platelets, and the gastrointestinal tract.
As serotonin is derived from an essential amino acid, serotonin cannot be synthesized by the individual and must consequently be a part of his food intake. There are quite a number of sources from which one can harvest serotonin and ways to enhance volume.
- Since serotonin is derived from the amino acid, tryptophan, the patient should incorporate tryptophan into his diet. It is abundant in most protein-based food and dietary proteins.
- Carbohydrates, when taken in small amounts, work well with tryptophan, since carbohydrates activate the release of serotonin and also assist the patient’s brain in processing the tryptophan in protein.
- An individual should not eliminate fat from his diet, since required essential fatty acids are needed in all hormonal processes.
- Avoid stimulants as these are quick fixes but prolonged consumption of stimulants, including alcohol and caffeine, can reduce and dull hormones.
Natural Ways to Increase Serotonin
Because of its mood-enhancing capabilities, a whole gamut of serotonin-enhancing drugs has been introduced into the market; however, patients who prefer not to go this route may consider natural ways to increase their serotonin levels. As mentioned, serotonin cannot be synthesized by the human body and must, therefore, be part of their diet. Here are some of the ways:
- Eat fat. Avocados, flaxseed, vegetable oils, and fish oils contain essential fatty acids that promote and enhance hormonal processes.
- Protein-based food such as fish, chicken, cheese, eggs, red meats, spirulina, and beans have substantial amounts of tryptophan and can, therefore, promote the production of serotonin.
- Individuals are encouraged to maintain a balanced diet. This means that relying on protein alone can hinder serotonin production as this may present problems to an individual’s brain chemistry.
- Daily exercise can also trigger the release of serotonin. Patients are encouraged to work out at least 15 minutes every day.
- Bananas are not only rich in iron and potassium; they are a good source of tryptophan also. Papayas and dates are also good sources.
- Cocoa is also a well-known source of serotonin; however, it has to be consumed wisely since chocolates are naturally high in sugar. If an individual consumes too much of it, blood sugar levels will spike up and will cause serotonin levels to fall.