Are you dreading the darker, less-sunlight filled days that are just around the corner? Well, you have good reason.
Less sunlight decreases serotonin (the feel good chemical) to your brain, depletes our Vitamin D stores, keeps us on our couches and tends to slow us down overall (think tired, less exercise, zzz).
Without adequate serotonin production, our brains get inflamed and moods are dampened while carbohydrate cravings intensify. Those hard to quench evening cravings are really nature’s way of sending us to seek out the sugar-laden, low-nutrient foods (simple and processed carbohydrates) to raise serotonin levels.
Try these 5 tips to boost serotonin. Start now or when the clocks change!
- Strength train 2 times per week. Muscle mass is a source of serotoninand keeps our metabolisms running throughout the day. Strength training actually induces inflammation, which our bodies adapt to and become more anti-inflammatory efficient. More isn’t better though. It’s important to rest muscle groups to let the body recover and not produce a state of chronic inflammation.
- Add good food sources of PREbiotics (underripe bananas, sauerkraut, kefir, kimchee, beans), which are the food for the good bacteria in the gut. Keeping the gut environment healthy increases serotonin by enhancing gut and brain communication.
- Add 10 minute bouts of repetitive movement. Walking, continuous household chores or even fidgeting increase serotonin.
- Choose nuts and seeds throughout your day (1 tablespoon on salads, 1/4 – 1/3 cup as a snack with a piece of fruit). Nuts and seeds add tryptophan, a precursor to serotonin.
- Get your Omega 3s! Fish oils help your serotonin work better by reducing brain inflammation. If you choose to supplement make sure to look for a high pharmaceutical grade (USP verified) product. It will be better quality and reduced levels of mercury.
Carve out time every day to fuel your brain and body this season. Don’t let low serotonin levels keep you in hibernation all winter long!
In good health,