Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that’s involved in many mental and physical functions.
That includes regulating your appetite and mood. The way you eat can have an impact on your serotonin levels in an indirect, but powerful way.
Boosting your serotonin can make you feel better and reduce cravings.
Eating to Boost Serotonin
1. Focus on complex carbohydrates. Green leafy vegetables are a great source of complex carbohydrates. Avoid bread, pasta, pancakes, waffles, muffins, cookies, cake, etc. Incorporating 4-7 cups of green leafy vegetables each day can help to reduce cravings.
2. Avoid carbohydrate deprivation. Super high protein diets and stress hormones can lead to such cravings. Make sure you are getting plenty of vegetables in addition to protein and fruit too if you please. A balanced diet and relaxation practices help to control your appetite. Plan your menus in advance. Meditate daily or get a massage.
3. Listen to carbohydrate cravings. If you have difficulty stopping at one waffle, you may be low on serotonin. Healthy levels of serotonin protect you from emotional overeating.
4. Try snacking between meals. Plan out mini meals or snacks throughout the day to stay on track and help you to avoid cravings for junk food.
5. Talk with your doctor. Certain medications such as anti-depressants may interfere with natural serotonin levels. Consult your physician about your individual needs.
Other Lifestyle Habits that Boost Serotonin
1. Sleep well. Good quality sleep helps your body to produce more serotonin. Go to bed and wake up on a consistent schedule. Keep your bedroom dark and quiet.
2. Stay active. Low intensity exercise also provides a lift. Take a 20 minute walk. Play a game of catch with your children. Climb the stairs rather than riding the elevator. Park farther away, so you have to walk a longer distance to your destination.
3. Turn up the lights. Some people find that their serotonin levels drop in the winter when they have less exposure to sunlight. Light therapy boxes may be one solution if you want to supplement the time that you spend outdoors.
4. Cut back on caffeine. There are also substances that tend to reduce your serotonin levels. Caffeine is one of the most common culprits. Alcohol has similar effects. You may benefit by cutting out the soda too. Perhaps you can switch from coffee to herbal tea or cut down to one cup of coffee per day.
5. Be happy. Serotonin helps you to feel good, and those pleasant feelings help you hold onto more serotonin. Encourage the cycle by engaging in activities you love and reminding yourself to smile more. Play with your dog or call a friend who makes you laugh.