Hack Your Happiness By Cracking The Serotonin Code.
Most of the world experiences some bout of depression at some point in their lives. Some, however, suffer major depressive disorder that takes over their entire livelihood.
The way our emotions ebb and flow during any given day is not only dependent upon our feelings but it is literally a physiological deficit or surplus.
What I am here to explain is that Serotonin is a neurotransmitter responsible for your excitement, happiness and human drive. Almost all of our Serotonin is manufactured in our GUT. Why we create antidepressants to create more Serotonin uptake to the brain is beyond me.
Serotonin is synthesized from the amino acid tryptophan. Here’s the thing…in order to obtain adequate amounts of tryptophan to create enough serotonin WE MUST EAT CERTAIN FOODS. How novel right? However, you must make sure to get tryptophan from certain foods. Also making sure they have not been genetically altered or endured poor farming practices. GMO and non-organic foods have been known to have less amino acids.
Before I get into the foods, you need to know how important serotonin is for our health. These are the things that serotonin does for us:
1. POOP — Aids in digestive health and controls bowel movements.
2. SLEEP — Very important when it comes to waking up and going to sleep.
3. CLOTTING — When you get injured platelets push out serotonin to help heal wounds, cuts and bruises
4. MOOD — Adequate amounts to increased serotonin puts us in a state of ease, homeostasis, elation and satisfaction.
Now, you can either take nasty antidepressants that only put a temporary bandaid over everything or you can do it the BETTER and NATURAL way.
Let us start with food. When eating food you always want to do your best to buy organic vegetables, grass-fed beef, pasture raised meats and wild-caught fish.
Notice I did not talk about fruits. That is because fruits should really be desert foods. All the hype of fruits being so good for you because of anti-oxidants is honestly all hogwash. They would be great if they didn’t have so much dang sugar. That is a talk for a separate post.
Here is an approved list of foods containing high levels of tryptophan:
1. Eggs — High source of omega-3 fatty acids, biotin, choline. DO NOT LEAVE OUT THE YOLK!! Bonus points for eating the eggs runny to get more nutrients!!
2. Salmon — Again, a high source of omegas. Keep the skin on and make sure to get wild-caught salmon! NEVER FARMED!!
3. Nuts — Almost every single nut has high levels of tryptophan (pumpkin and squash seeds seem to have the most). However, not all nut is created equal. If you are allergic to certain nuts PLEASE do not eat them! And ALWAYS ALWAYS stay away from peanuts. Peanuts are terrible for your health. They almost always carry mold toxins inside of them.
4. Turkey — Yup, you go ahead and get your 4th serving of that Thanksgiving meal! Ever wondered why you are so tired after Thanksgiving? Well, first off you stuffed your face and secondly you ingested ungodly amounts of tryptophan. Which, if you didn’t know, tryptophan is the biggest facilitator of getting quality and deep sleep. BOOM.
5. Red meat, game meat, lamb and chicken - all have high levels of tryptophan as well.
The other foods high tryptophan that I don’t particularly fancy:
1. Cheese (Mozzarella has the most)
2. Lentils and Beans
Now that we covered the foods, let’s cover a few more things to boost your serotonin naturally. Many of these will seem obvious but they may likely be the things you neglect most:
1. EXERCISE — Everyone knows that exercise, whether that is cardio or weight lifting enhances your mood. Working out rapidly floods our body with feel good hormones.
2. GUT BACTERIA — The gut-brain axis is a somewhat newer concept that has been talked about recently with those who have depression or even brain fog. The state of your natural flora or gut bacteria inside your colon decides how healthy you are. Your gut bacteria can literally change your mood within minutes. That is why it is called the gut-brain axis. People would be amazed to know how many nervous system connections there are inside of our gut alone. Make sure to cut out excess sugar, alcohol and fried foods. Only implement probiotics that resonate with your current gut bacteria. I suggest giving a stool sample for a lab to test which bacterial strains you might be missing, which ones you have too much of and if you have pathological strains.
3. SUNLIGHT — This might be one of the most overlooked tools we have in our arsenal for not only mental health but for fantastic overall health. Have you ever noticed that when the sun comes out after a cloudy day, you instantly feel better even if you aren’t consciously thinking about it. As everyone knows, the sun stimulates vitamin D which has most recently been categorized as a nootropic (brain enhancing chemical). Sunlight enhances mood, focus, sleep and mental processing.
4. BREATHING/MEDITATION — Yes, you have heard time and time again how meditation is good for the mind. The reality is that if you have control of your mind, you are winning at life. Our mind is a scary place that can make us think thoughts that are totally bogus. Starting your day off in the right headspace changes your outlook on the day immediately. By also doing breathing drills you can rapidly change the physiology in your body. By inhaling oxygen and expelling carbon dioxide your body is super saturating your red blood cells and kicking out waste products to bodily tissues for collection. Breathing drills also give you a euphoric and weightlessness feeling. There are many types of meditation and breathing drills. You can do guided meditations by using the Headspace app which is easiest for beginners. For breathing drills your can either do the Wim Hof method or use Tony Robbins method. Both are great!
Well, now that you are armed with some easy weapons to help kick depression to the curb go try them out! Consistency is key! You’re not going to beat years of depression over night or even in a week! Keep up with your routine! It will make all the difference!
Yours Forever In Health
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