What if some minor lifestyle habits you have are decreasing your happiness and sex drive and you don’t even know it? Happiness is important and connected to your libido levels. Happiness means less stress which in return decreases cortisol levels.
Why is it important to have low cortisol levels?
It is because having high cortisol levels can play havioc on the body especially your testosterone levels. The higher our cortisol levels are the lower our testosterone levels will be effecting our overall health and libido.
Ever heard of the “happy hormone?” which is the nick name given the hormone Serotonin.
What is serotonin?
Serotonin is responsible for the influence over our mood, memory, energy, cravings, pain sensation, sleep habits, appetite, digestion and body temperature regulation.
The good news is many studies have shown that there are natural methods to enhancing serotonin levels for example like exercise may be just as effective as traditional drug therapies.
Chronic stress is one of the main causes of serotonin depletion. This is why I cant stress enough the importance of keeping cortisol levels down which seems like a harder enough challenge in today’s hectic society. It’s believed that low serotonin levels are responsible for the current epidemic of depression.
Prescription drugs seem to not be a reliable source for tackling the problem, as they can have serious side effects and only have a success rate of 50%.
So what are some ways to increase serotonin naturally?
15 ways to help increase Serotonin levels
Sleep is king
I have said it before “Sleep is King” having a healthy sleeping pattern is one of the easiest ways to combat cortisol levels in return helping in keeping serotonin at healthy level.
Erratic sleep schedule can disrupt serotonin production. When serotonin levels are not normal, sleep disturbances and other issues can result, including depression and chronic fatigue syndrome.
Don’t forget to eat your protein
Proteins contain tryptophan, a large amino that converts to serotonin in the brain. Even though studies haven’t really proven that tryptophan provided through diet is able to stimulate serotonin production alone. There is still great debate if tryptophan supplements are a safe option to take. There still needs to be more studies done in this field so I would avoid tryptophan supplements at the moment. For now I would still highly recommend consuming I diet high in protein as it will help combat cortisol levels anyway.
Studies haven proven that exercise does increase the production of certain hormones, including serotonin and dopamine. You could say exercise can provide you with a natural high.
Say no to stimulants
Caffeine, sugar and alcohol can temporarily give you a lift, but actually deplete and blunt valuable hormones in the long run. Consuming to much caffeine is like borrowing energy from tomorrow and in the long term can disrupt your hormonal balance and even lead to adrenal fatigue.
You can go cold turkey or I would recommended a slow easy down with stress management. Try switching to decaf coffee and consume no more than 2 cups of coffee a day.
Get help from the cuddle hormone
Oxytocin is another feel good hormone also known as the “cuddle hormone”. It is released when people snuggle up or bond socially. Even playing with your dog can cause an oxytocin surge . So if you need a lift spend time with a loved ones on the regular.
Consume more vitamin C
Vitamin C is required to produce dopamine it also acts as an antidepressant, so it can help in decreasing cortisol levels. Studies have shown that participants who were given vitamin C reported feeling happier, often within as little as one week. (Study)
Get more sunshine / vitamin D
Did you know that an estimated 77% of Americans don’t get enough vitamin D
I Just got back from a swim at the beach after a couple days of rain and I could feel the healing power of the all natural sunshine straight away.
Sunshine provides the body with vitamin D and depending on your lifestyle it may be the “missing” vitamin for your brain and your mood. It is vital because Vitamin D regulates the conversion of tryptophan into serotonin. Low levels are thought to be responsible for the depression and If you are one of those people that arrive to work when its dark and finish in the dark as well (like i used to), I would highly recommend consuming vitamin d in a supplement form.
Consume more Magnesium
Inadequate magnesium appears to reduce serotonin levels, it it vital to our health as it is essential in over 600 different metabolic functions including nervous system regulation.
Need some help in consuming more magnesium here are some foods high in magnesium:
- Pumpkin seeds
- Beans and lentils
- Brown rice
Magnesium is also essential for muscle performance and muscle recovery. Studies have shown magnesium reduces cortisol. For some extra magnesium benefits grab some Magnesium Bath Flakes for next time you bath.
Consume more Zinc
Zinc allows there to be adequate stomach acid to ensure that proteins are denatured into absorbable amino acid components. This is heavily dependent on zinc/ This process helps to maintain neurotransmitter balance and reduces the likelihood of serotonin deficiency.
Did you know Children, seniors, and vegetarians are most at risk for zinc deficiency. If you are a vegetarian I would recommend taking a zinc supplement until you are confident with creating a diet rich in zinc.
Turmeric contains Curcumin which possess antidepressant activity through modulating the release of serotonin and dopamine. Curcumin supplements have proven to be as effective as Prozac for depression.
Eat More Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate may increase serotonin levels not only due to the serotonin and L-tryptophan it contains, but also because it contains carbohydrates in the form of sugar, which can signal the body to produce more serotonin.
Drink More Green Tea
L-theanine, an amino acid found in green tea can increase levels of serotonin, dopamine, and GABA according to studies.
Here are some teas that contain the most L-theanine:
Eat More Fish
People who don’t consume enough omega 3 fatty acids tend to have lower levels of DHA which is linked to having low levels of serotonin. Eating fish regularly and foods high in omega 3 fatty acids can help raise serotonin levels naturally due too increasing DHA levels.
Drink less artificial sugars
I ditched the soft drinks many years ago, a quick tip I would suggest is to aim at drinking 4 liters of water a day. Which is a lot and can do wonders for the body. The beauty of it is while trying to drink 4 liters of water you wont have room or time for soft drinks.
Most people drink soft drinks because it makes them happy, besides a quick sugar fix the artificial sugar in soft drinks ‘’aspartame” can play havoc on our serotonin levels.
Aspartame breaks down into phenylalanine (and methanol), which competes with tryptophan, the precursor for serotonin, for the same channel through the blood-brain barrier into the central nervous system. So an excess of consumption of aspartame has now been proven to reduce serotonin levels.
Try some St. John’s Wort
Though Experts continue to debate whether St. John’s wort is as effective as SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). So far we should give the herb the benefit of the doubt as it has been proven by a number of studies that it is as effective at relieving mild-to-moderate depression as the most commonly prescribed antidepressants, the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).
As you can see there is a trend to these tips and which is also a common theme throughout my posts; which is healthy living and paying full attention to your sleeping patterns, exercise routine, stress levels and diet can naturally increase your serotonin levels along with your sex drive.
No magic prescription pills needed , just you and some determination to turn your life round. Once you experience high levels serotonin levels all the time it will feel like a natural high and you will never turn back to your old ways.
Kind Regards Antonio Ferraro