Chemicals Behind Happiness – Serotonin
Serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) is a chemical in the central nervous system that helps regulate sleep, appetite, memory, mood and learning. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that sends signals between nerve cells in the brain.
When Serotonin is on point, it generates feelings of relaxation, happiness and gives you a general sense of well being. It is primarily found in gastro intestine tract where it is used to regulate digestion, bowel movements.
Factors that lowers Serotonin levels
Serotonin levels should be balanced for proper moods and body functions. Among the main factors that diminish the Serotonin levels are the following:-
- Stress: Increased stress level decreases the Serotonin levels in brain.
- Heat: An excessive heat lowers the levels of Serotonin.
- Diet: An inadequate diet can reduce levels of Serotonin. Dispense with certain foods can be very harmful. For example, a drastic reduction in carbohydrates can decrease Serotonin level. Taking certain drugs, alcohol, caffine can dramatically produce the same effect.
- Age: As we age, the body has more difficulty to synthesize Serotonin.
Effects of low Serotonin
If the Serotonin is low you can expect depression, sleeping disorders, low or increased appetite, and carvings of carbs and/or sugars.
Factors that increase serotonin levels
Among the main factors that increase the Serotonin levels are the following:-
- Diet: Proper diet may increase the levels of Serotonin. The essential amino acid Tryptophan is important in the production of Serotonin. Eating tryptophan-rich foods – including nuts, beans, lentils, soy foods, eggs, meat, poultry, asparagus, chocolate, and dates may increase levels of serotonin in the brain.
- Exercise: Physical activity increases levels of Serotonin. Exercise can do a lot to improve your mood. 15 or 20 minutes of exercise, apart from strenghtening the muscles and improving blood circulation, increases the level of confidence and make us feel better.
- Adopt proper sleeping habits: Sleeping, 6-8 hours is necessary to relax your body. Sleeping recovers your good body levels and make you feel happier. You shall not go to bed too late and shall get up early in the morning.
- Try to maintain a positive attitude towards life: A positive sense of love and trust with others increases Serotonin.
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