Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that has a determining influence on our mood and our appetite. Therefore, having low serotonin levels is the origin of depression and depressive states. In addition, it’s also the cause of anxiety states that many people feel in the afternoon hours, in which the body asks for eat sweet foods. These effects can be treated with the serotonin diet.
It is very common that, during the day, we are able to maintain a healthy diet, or follow a diet that we have marked with the intention of losing weight.
However, when the afternoon falls, it is usual to feel an unstoppable desire to eat sweet products, and it will be very difficult not to fall into temptation. This is due to a drop-in serotonin level.
Serotonin diet: nutrition
Actually, there are no foods rich in serotonin, or that contain serotonin. However, the amino acid tryptophan is the precursor of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Therefore, consuming foods rich in tryptophan, the production of serotonin is guaranteed.
In addition to consuming foods rich in tryptophan, it is necessary that your diet contains vitamins C, B1, B6, B9, and B12, calcium, and zinc to promote the conversion of tryptophan to serotonin.
Therefore, it is necessary that your diet is rich in products such as whole grains, sardines in oil, nuts, seeds, produce, and seasonal vegetables.
In addition, the synthesis of serotonin is activated in the presence of oxygen, so that physical activity activates its production and stimulates endorphins, which are natural relaxants that also generate the feeling of well-being.
Examples of food
Some of the foods that can contribute to a greater production of serotonin are the following:
- Blue fish: blue fish provides tryptophan, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids that stimulate the conversion of serotonin-rich foods.
- Meat: we must give priority to lean meats, such as chicken, turkey, or rabbit, for their contribution of tryptophan and B vitamins.
- Eggs: inside this food, the yolk is especially rich in tryptophan and in vitamins of group B.
- Dairy: dairy products provide tryptophan, calcium and magnesium.
- Legumes: some like soybeans, beans, and lentils are the legumes that provide more tryptophan.
- Whole grain cereals: the presence of carbohydrates promotes the conversion of tryptophan to serotonin. In addition, they are a good source of B vitamins.
- Nuts and seeds: pistachios and almonds provide large amounts of tryptophan. In addition, nuts are rich in magnesium. On the other hand, seeds, such as pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, or pine nuts also provide zinc.
- Seasonal fruits: they provide vitamins, calcium and magnesium. In particular, pineapple, and banana have the most tryptophan.
- Seasonal vegetables: these products provide magnesium, vitamins and carbohydrates with a favorable glycemic load.
- Dark chocolate: it should always be consumed in moderation, but chocolate is a pleasant way to raise the level of tryptophan and magnesium.
How to increase serotonin levels naturally?
To contribute to the serotonin diet, we can perform some practices that increase the levels of this element naturally. By way of example, abdominal or diaphragmatic breathing alone has the capacity to produce changes in the brain, since it promotes the secretion of hormones such as serotonin and endorphins. In addition, it improves the tuning of rhythms between the two cerebral hemispheres.
In addition, we can do high intensity exercise for at least 15 minutes a day, which will increase our serotonin levels. We can also practice relaxation exercises, such as yoga, which favors the aforementioned abdominal breathing.
Going outdoors and sunbathing will also help increase serotonin levels. The sun is key for our body to secrete serotonin.
Therefore, in winter, try not to wear sunglasses so that your eyes absorb more sunlight and try to get some sun every day. Everything combined provides us a serotonin diet.
Finally, try to sleep for at least eight hours. Try to relax to have a good night’s sleep, as this makes the levels of serotonin and melatonin stay at adequate levels. When we do not sleep properly, the levels of these hormones are altered and also our appetites increase considerably.