Eight Natural Ways to Boost Serotonin and Mood

Eight Natural Ways to Boost Serotonin and Mood

Wednesday, May 27, 2009 by: Elizabeth Walling, citizen journalist

(NaturalNews) Our brain produces neurotransmitters like serotonin which play an important role in how we feel each day. Many people experience pain, stress, depression and anxiety associated with low serotonin levels. Fortunately, there are plenty of natural ways we can boost our mood by helping our body produce the right amount of serotonin.

1. Get Enough Rest

Sleep gives the body an opportunity to rejuvenate itself and prepare for another day of life. Lack of sleep disrupts hormone production and can keep your brain from producing enough serotonin. Most people need at least seven hours of quality sleep each night to feel their best. Encourage a good night’s rest by dialing down activity and dimming the lights an hour before bedtime. You can also take magnesium and calcium or tryptophan an hour before bed to aid in the production of melatonin, which is nighttime’s form of serotonin.

2. Exercise the Blues Away

Regular exercise is one of the easiest ways to naturally boost your neurotransmitters. Even light exercise like yoga or a daily walk is very effective. In fact, you want to make sure you’re not over-exercising to avoid depleting your feel-good chemicals. Aim for about 30-60 minutes of moderate activity 3-5 days per week on average, with a balance of cardio and resistance exercise for the best results.

3. Try a Balanced Eating Plan

The production of neurotransmitters like serotonin is dependent upon a constant stream of quality nutrients. Regular, balanced meals and snacks give your brain what it needs to feel good. Begin with stocking your shelves with a variety of whole, natural foods including fresh fruits and vegetables. Keep highly processed and refined food out of the house as much as you can. Try to eat some protein and fat with each meal to keep your blood sugar from bouncing up and down, which will help balance your hormone production.

4. Get Plenty of Healthy Fat

Fat is essential for hormone and neurotransmitter production. Without adequate fat intake, it’s impossible for the body to produce enough serotonin. Stay away from diets that tell you to ditch the fat. Instead, choose healthy fats that will keep you feeling great.

So, what is healthy fat? Well, opinions vary widely, but the best fats are going to be from natural, unprocessed sources. Flaxseed and olive oils are some of the top choices. Look for organic oils in opaque containers labeled “unrefined” or “cold-pressed” for a higher quality. Butter and coconut oil are also good choices, especially since saturated fat helps facilitate the use of the essential fatty acids.

5. Take a Vitamin B Complex

All of the B vitamins are vital for energy and the production of serotonin. These nutrients are used up rapidly in times of stress. You can get vitamin B from eating more whole grains, green vegetables and dairy products. A quality vitamin B supplement is also recommended to make up for any dietary deficiencies. Since all of the B vitamins work together in a synergistic way, it’s good to find a vitamin B complex that contains a good amount of each of the different B vitamins.

6. Don’t Forget Your Calcium and Magnesium

Both calcium and magnesium are precursors to serotonin production, so it’s important to be getting plenty in your diet. Eating dairy products and nuts are two healthy ways to boost your intake, and for most people a quality supplement is also beneficial.

7. Avoid Stimulants and Other Chemicals

Sugar, caffeine, and alcohol give you a temporary rush of feel-good neurotransmitters, but over time these substances deplete your brain of what it needs to balance your moods. Limit your intake of sugar, caffeine and alcohol whenever possible. A daily cup of coffee or glass of red wine and the occasional dessert are usually acceptable, but if you tend to be sensitive to these then you’re better off avoiding them altogether. Also, it’s a good idea to avoid consuming artificial sweeteners, since these are chemical substances that interfere with natural hormonal processes.

8. Bask in the Sunshine

Sunlight naturally stimulates the production of serotonin and signals the body to stop producing melatonin. Getting plenty of natural light will boost your mood and your energy.

3 Responses to “Eight Natural Ways to Boost Serotonin and Mood”
  1. Tara says:

    Great article! I’m going to post a link on the Out of the Valley blog to this…thanks so much!

  2. Raimunda Ximenes says:

    If your brain produces less serotonin than needed your energy level is so high that you have to continuously move, and fast, and you can’t rest, can’t sleep. That is why you become “maniac” . You can’t follow the recommendation to sleep. You do accept exercise, thou. You move all the time, you are “hyperactive”.
    On the contrary, when your brain makes more serotonin than needed your energy, your intellect, your movements, everything in you is “depressed”.
    Unhealthy food and forcing yourself to sleep less hours than needed may contribute to diminished health in your brain or any other part of your body, but many people who had unhealthy habits do not become “maniac” or “depressed”.
    The MENTAL illness now called “mood disorder” (former “bipolar disorder”, former “bipolar depression”, former “mania depression” and always “craziness”) is actually an endocryne (hormonal) malfunction, since it is caused by serotonin imbalance. It has to be treated medically, even if the natural healing methods may help. Endocrinology is a medical specialty still full of mysteries, even more than neurology. Research on the brain is much advanced, but the why and how of the hormones is still a field full of secrets.
    Please consult an specialist about the above. A reader who believes that serotonin or any other brain secretion may be “straightened” by what we call a healthy routine risks to be awaken by a painful reality. If you feel extremely “high” and restless or have lost the desire to work and go places, please see a doctor as soon as possible, on top of adopting a good diet or coming back to the good one you had. Change in the level of acceptability may also be a symptom of serotonin deficiency.

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