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10. Avoid the fast track to happiness.
Carbohydrates give you an instant lift because they trigger the release of serotonin. Indeed, I’ve seen several articles lately actually recommend eating a sugary treat to boost your mood and sleep better. Bad advice (see Dr. Weil’s take). Carbs are a quick fix, but they do nothing to stimulate ongoing production of serotonin, which is what you want.
9. Don’t avoid carbs entirely.
Proteins contain tryptophan, a large amino that converts to serotonin in the brain. (I’ll be discussing tryptophan supplements in the future.) Yet relying solely on protein can hamper serotonin production. Though scientists aren’t sure why this is, it makes sense that subsisting entirely on one macro-nutrient might cause problems for brain chemistry.
8. Eat protein.
Turkey, fish, chicken, cottage cheese, nuts, cheese, eggs, and beans all contain generous levels of tryptophan.
7. Eat fat.
Hormonal processes require essential fatty acids, so don’t shirk your “good fats”. Get plenty of DHA-enhanced eggs and dairy in your diet, and eat fish a few times a week. Good sources are wild salmon, mackerel, and tuna. You vegheads can also nosh on avocados, nuts, flaxseed, vegetable oils (walnut, avocado, almond, flax, olive) and seeds.
6. Take a fish oil supplement!
Though fish oil won’t produce serotonin, essential fatty acids play a vital role in brain health and mood regulation.
5. Exercise to feel good.
Exercise is a natural stimulator of many important “mood” hormones, including serotonin and dopamine.
4. Avoid the stimulant cycle.
Caffeine, sugar, alcohol. Caffeine, sugar, alcohol. Many of us get trapped in the stimulant cycle.
3. Sleep right.
When we’re feeling down, it’s tempting to sleep, sleep and sleep some more. But quality sleep is far more important than quantity.
2. Investigate supplements wisely.
HTP is a popular supplement, but I personally prefer rhodiola, which actually slows the process of serotonin breakdown (it also has better scientific backing).
1. Boost other hormones!
Oxytocin is another feel good hormone often called the “cuddle hormone”. Oxytocin is released when we feel love, trust and comfort.
Serotonin (pronounced /ˌsɛrəˈtoʊnən/) is a monoamine neurotransmitter. It is found extensively in the gastrointestinal tract of animals, and about 80 to 90 percent of the human body's total serotonin is located in the enterochromaffin cells in the gut, where it is used to regulate intestinal movements. The remainder is synthesized in serotonergic neurons in the central nervous system (CNS) where it has various functions, including the regulation of mood, appetite, sleep, muscle contraction, and some cognitive functions including memory and learning.