What is serotonin?
Ever wondered what serotonin is, whether it really can be encouraged by eating chocolate, does it really effect your mood and much more? While we seek out joy during January we wanted these questions answered!
Serotonin is the key hormone that stabilizes our mood, feelings of well-being, and happiness. This hormone impacts your entire body. It enables brain cells and other nervous system cells to communicate with each other. Serotonin also helps with sleeping, eating, and digestion. However, if the brain has too little serotonin, it may lead to depression. If the brain has too much serotonin, it can lead to excessive nerve cell activity. It also helps reduce depression, regulate anxiety, and maintain bone health too. It's all round a hormone you need!
How to boost serotonin naturally.
1. Sunlight and Vitamin D
Not quite so simple during the winter months but just getting outside into nature and seeing the daylight can make a huge difference to our mood and that's serotonin doing it's job! From October to April it's a good idea to supplement your Vitamin D levels. Vitamin D can help us to experience positive emotions, protect from depressed mood and anxiety, as well as promote energy and alertness.
2. Hugging and human contact
With Hugging Day today it's the perfect time to hug someone safely and boost your serotonin levels! We all know that from time to time we feel the need for a hug, and that's your body telling you that you need a little serotonin boost. Human touch has been shown to lower cortisol levels and increase our immune response too.
Yes, chocolate! Chocolate contains Tryptophan, which is the precursor to serotonin, so, you guessed it, a little chocolate can go a long way to helping improve your mood. The better the grade of cacao the better the mood boost too so why not treat someone special to our cacao covered red velvet limited edition this month and spread the joy! Find it here.
Having one of those days, feeling tired and not quite with it? Getting out for a walk, hitting the gym, or just doing some gentle movement at home can make a vast difference to how you feel. The mood-boosting effects of exercise is known to help manage depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders, and helps your body to increase Tryptophan production, thus improving your serotonin levels. Why not finish off your exercise with a Coconutty Bar, they're the perfect post exercise treat with lots of healthy fats and micronutrients, and of course the all important chocolate!
Gut health is a massive part of the serotonin puzzle. With Serotonin being produced in the gut a health microbiota is believed to have a huge influence on your serotonin levels. Eating probiotic foods, maintaining a high-fiber diet, and even trying a high-quality probiotic supplement can help increase gut microbial diversity. Need some more inspiration for healthy, happy meals? Take a look at our recipe section and find out how we eat at Nourish!