Going back to work after the festive period, when the days are cold and short, can be testing for us all. Here’s some good friendly advice on how to boost your mood and serotonin levels the healthy way and beat those January blues.

Diet

Your diet has a huge impact on your mood and serotonin levels. Try and include the following serotonin boosting foods into your diet:

1. Complex Carbohydrates

Whole grain foods (brown rice, oatmeal) and vegetables stimulate the production of serotonin and keep your blood sugar levels stable.

2. Protein

Fish, chicken, turkey (though you’re probably sick of that right now), nuts and eggs all contain tryptophan; an amino acid which is converted into serotonin in the brain.

3. Bananas, Avocados and Almonds

These foods all boost serotonin and dopamine production in the body.

4. Omega 3 fats

Fresh fish, such as salmon, sardines and tuna, are a great source of Omega 3 and although it doesn’t directly produce or enhance serotonin, it does support healthy brain function and aid mood regulation.

Sleep

The importance of a good nights sleep can not be under valued. Little or no sleep can dramatically lower serotonin levels and may also lower your metabolism. Everyone is different but aim for at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night.

Exercise

Although it might be tough motivating yourself to exercise on a cold wet night, exercise is a proven method of boosting serotonin levels. Try and work in at least 20 minutes of exercise into your daily routine such as a brisk walk or cycling to work.

Supplements

Probiotics
There is a growing area of research that suggests that the ‘gut-brain’ axis plays a vital role in mood regulation and mental wellbeing. A good balance of probiotics in the gut helps to maintain good digestion and immunity, as well as keeping the serotonin receptors in our gut healthy. Read more about how the gut may be linked to mental wellbeing and how probiotics may be able to reduce anxiety and depression.

Probiotics also produce several key B vitamins. At times of stress your body can become depleted of B vitamins, which help to modulate cell metabolism, produce energy from our food as well as maintaining our nervous and digestive symptoms.

5-HTP

This popular supplement raises your serotonin levels and, hopefully, will trigger your body to naturally keep them elevated after supplementation.

Rhodiola rosea

Rhodiola is a herb which may help slow the breakdown of serotonin in the body and aid mood regulation.


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