You've had that scenario before, where running a mile at your nearest park made you feel 100x better... although you weren't initially motivated to do so.
I've had this countless times with physical exercise, where weightlifting completely revitalized my mood.
A lot of this has to do with the neurotransmitter known as serotonin.
In this post, we are going to cover serotonin, along with four ways to optimize it.
Let's dive in!
Serotonin is a powerful chemical and neurotransmitter that is found in our bodies, the food we consume, and sunlight.
Also known as our "feel-good hormone", serotonin has been shown to help with wellbeing, happiness, sleep quality, and cognitive health (among many other things).
Serotonin improves the production of acetylcholine, which helps with information processing and memory recollection. It is also a precursor to melatonin, as it sets the tone for our body's sleep cycle and overall quality of sleep.
As there is some correlation to low serotonin levels and depression, we wanted to explore optimizing serotonin in our bodies. In our quest for fat loss and overall health, sometimes we deplete our serotonin levels through dieting. Due to less consumption of tryptophan and our lethargy of staying indoors, sometimes our serotonin levels are not optimized.
So with that, let's explore 4 ways to optimize serotonin for mind and body health.
While there are many ways to optimize serotonin, we are going to go over some of the most important factors that help with it.
Meditation is one of the most overlooked things in our society today. We believe that stillness in meditation or mindfulness is the key to overall health and happiness... and we have information to prove so.
Meditation is huge on serotonin production because of its relaxing capabilities. According to one systematic review, meditation has been shown to aid in the following ways:
When it comes to meditation, we like to consider all forms of mindfulness exercises, including Yoga. Yoga has also been shown to improve serotonin levels due to its self-soothing capabilities.
Any type of productive and positive journaling, meditation, or yoga should be able to help with overall wellbeing. This is because these things allow us to improve our thoughts and mood, having a huge impact on mental health.
Don't discount these things - something as simple as 5 to 10 minutes of meditation or stillness is huge.
Sunlight is one of our favorite things to talk about because we never really get too much of it. One of the biggest challenges today is the lack of Vitamin D we get from sunlight. UV light to our body is absorbed to produce Vitamin D, which in turn, produces serotonin.
A lot of us tend to work desk jobs or are late sleepers, so we end up accidentally avoiding sunlight. It gets worse when wintertime comes along, and our gloomy weather covers the sun's rays. Sunlight has been shown to have anti-depressant effects, which is why light therapy is used to combat depression in the wintertime. Light therapy is where people utilize artificial UV light to produce similar effects as sunlight, thereby reducing depression.
While we can always supplement with Vitamin D for the worst-case scenario, consider getting some direct sunlight sun to optimize your Vitamin D levels.
We don't need to tell you that exercise is the catalyst to your greatest potential. It has personally helped me overcome severe depression, and helped create more positive habits for myself.
It shouldn't be surprising that after the hundreds of other benefits, exercise has been shown to boost serotonin production. You know you feel good when you finish a run or a weight lifting session.
While anaerobic or weight lifting does help, cardiovascular exercise has been best shown to improve serotonin production. We recommend implementing some form of cardiovascular exercise into your routine consistently.
When you're not feeling motivated to exercise, this is the prime opportunity to do so. Build those serotonin levels.
We tend to neglect to eat properly when it comes to overall mind and body health. It's not a surprise that eating healthy can produce serotonin.
Serotonin is produced within the body as a result of the amino acid known as tryptophan. Tryptophan is typically found from the foods that we eat.
Here are some foods you can eat to produce tryptophan:
When eating foods with tryptophan, consider combining them with carbohydrates for better absorption in the brain.
When dieting to lose weight, proper nutrition is extremely important as fat loss dieting has a large impact on our moods. Consider prioritizing these foods when you're dieting so that you can optimize your serotonin levels.
Now that you have four ways to optimize your serotonin levels, we want you to have a plan you can utilize for your brain health.
Here's what we would consider to optimize serotonin levels:
Any questions or comments? Throw them below, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next time, Reforged Legion!
One of the most difficult things to implement is a diet or exercise regiment. According to one study, more than 50% of people will drop out of their exercise program within 6 months. Most of the time, this is a result of our exercise program not meeting expectations. Our hesitations typically come from ourselves - and it's never always one reason.
There are typically multiple reasons as to why we drop out of our exercise and nutrition regiments.
In this post, we are going to go over the five barriers that hold most of us back from fitness.
Let's dive in!
We all witness the initial water weight loss that comes from dieting... it's so cool to drop 5-10lbs in one week when we start.
And then, it slows down... it even stops.
Some people get disheartened from this and believe that it's in their genetics... that the diet didn't work... that no matter what they do, it's useless.
I've been there.
I've tried Intermittent Fasting, Ketogenic, and low-carb diets way before they were cool. To be honest, most of these methods were never sustainable for me in the long-term: I would eventually always stop them. Being that I grew up with a family whose meals were Mediterranean-styled, fruits, vegetables, and complex carbs were always a part of my life.
Sometimes, having trouble eliminating food groups in diets is not because of willpower or discipline... it's because of adherence. To us, adherence is the most important thing in a diet, as it eventually breeds discipline and consistency.
It was not until I incorporated Flexible Dieting that my entire lifestyle changed for the better.
In this post, we will explore the Flexible Dieting system in its entirety. It's a system I have used through quite a few successful fat loss and muscle gain phases since 2013.