This is our second article in this series of four parts. We talked in Part I about Dopamine. In this article Serotonin. Serotonin is another happiness hormone. Happiness and melancholy moods are related to our hormones. Deficiency in any of the hormones can disrupt the rhythm of our mental balance and attitudes. And this in consequence affects our physical health and energy. Serotonin is known as the mood uplifting hormone. If it is released properly, it helps you stay cheerful and upbeat.
Serotonin is one of the essential pieces of the puzzle without which you cannot feel that joy, even if you have so many good reasons to be happy. Its deficiency leads to many problems such as depression, anxiety, sleep disorder, and emotional instability. However, deficiency of Serotonin is not the only issue, excessive serotonin also leads to serotonin syndrome. Abnormal high or low levels are not good. A balanced level of Serotonin is the only healthy place.
What is Serotonin?
You may be thinking, why is Serotonin called a happy hormone? How does serotonin cause happiness? Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, like dopamine. It helps stabilize your mood and digestive system. It’s a chemical that allows communication between the nerve cells. Interestingly, the intestines and the brain produce Serotonin. Scientists call it happiness-chemical because it helps build your confidence, happiness, and positivism. Its functions include emotional wellbeing and motor skills, cardiovascular health, bone metabolism, eye health, neurological disorder, and blood clotting prevention, bowel movement, and sexual function
Tips to Increase Your Serotonin
After you heard about the equilibrium level of Serotonin, you must be asking how to get the serotonin levels back to that sacred normal level? there are selective Serotonin reuptake inhibitors that increase serotonin levels. They work as therapeutic agents used to treat emotional instability and psychological disorders, such as depression. A study in 2007 shows that low levels of Serotonin are linked to depression, anxiety, and insomnia.
The techniques described below will help increase your serotonin and dopamine levels naturally. Other than taking medications, it can be done through physical exercise and food intake.
What You Put in Your Body Matters
Your intake has a lot of power to keep you healthy. Medications, supplements, drinks, and food are all included in your intake.
Good Foods For Serotonin
Tryptophan is a critical player in producing Serotonin. Tryptophan is one amino acid, which can be obtained from eating proteins, some types of fat, and other nutrients. Coincidentally, These Serotonin rich foods also have Dopamine and omega-3 fatty acids that have so many other benefits such as anti-aging, blood circulation, and overall well-being of your brain and body health. These foods include:
Salmon, turkey, beef, poultry, tofu, soy milk, nuts and seeds, pineapple, banana, Kiwi, plums, tomatoes, eggs, , complex carbs, and probiotics-rich foods.
Bad Foods For Serotonin
Certain foods are loved and consumed regularly by so many people without giving a second thought to their cons. As you consume them, they might give you a burst of energy, but they hamper the serotonin level in the long term.
● Caffeinated drinks (source)
● Sugary items (source)
● Soda, frizzy, and energy drinks. (source)
● Artificially flavored juices
● Processed foods
Healthful Ways to Increase Your Serotonin
Working out or doing any mobility, physical activities, excursions or outings, are not only ways to shed pounds from your body but rather much more than that. They are crucial to keeping your emotional health sound.
“Walking gets the feet moving, the blood moving, the mind moving.” — Terri Guillemets.
Physical exercise and wellness practices also help increase the tryptophan, an amino acid, because it drives brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). It also helps increase endorphin, dopamine, and serotonin. Below are some highly recommended activities, techniques, and behavior that are helpful with Serotonin balancing are:
Yoga, pilates, aerobics, walking, cycling, swimming , connecting with nature, exposure to light, meditation, gratitude. novel experiences, use of essential oils, massage, therapy, and happy memories.
Risk Factors of High-Level of Serotonin
Excess has its downside in many things in life including the Serotonin level. Many risk factors are involved when the serotonin level increases its benchmark range of (101–283 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL). When the Serotonin in the body reaches high levels, some complications and symptoms show up, such as:
Agitation or restlessness, confusion, dilated pupils, headache, nausea, changes in blood pressure or temperature, vomiting, diarrhea, increased heart rate, twitching muscles, shivering, sweating. You may also feel high fever, seizures, and other symptoms if the condition is exacerbated.
Serotonin is an important neurotransmitter. It’s a chemical that works for the overall happiness of the mind and the healthy energy of the body. Serotonin alone cannot bring changes to your mood. It works together with Dopamine, which is another important neurotransmitter. There are many ways to increase serotonin levels. However, you should consult a doctor if any factors persist and depression takes away your mood.
Find our first article here about Dopamine.