11 Natural Ways to Increase Mood-Boosting Serotonin

Sadness, joy, and excitement are just a few of the feelings we experience which are influenced by a variety of causes and factors around us. Apart from the various environmental factors, such as couples fighting, for example, what happens inside our bodies also has a significant impact on our feelings and the mood changes we experience during the day.



One of these physiological factors is the neurotransmitter serotonin, which plays a major role in regulating different moods, and its deficiency or excess can significantly affect our mood. We can’t always control external circumstances, but what happens within our bodies is definitely in our hands, and with the following 11 tips you can increase the production of serotonin in your body and feel happier as a result.

1. Increase your intake of Theanine

Theanine is an amino acid found in tea that penetrates the brain and affects levels of neurotransmitters such as serotonin. Theanine has a double effect on mood improvement because, apart from increasing serotonin levels, it also causes an increase in dopamine levels, another hormone responsible for our mood.

2. Get a pampering massage

Anyone who has ever received a massage knows how relaxing it can be, and how it can make us feel much better. Relaxation of the muscles during a massage causes the release of tension, and it turns out that it also increases the production of serotonin. Moreover, massages causes a decrease in the cortisol hormone, which inhibits the production of serotonin by 30%.

3. Add turmeric to the menu

Turmeric also has a positive effect on our mood because of the curcumin it contains. In a study published in 2008, researchers found that curcumin increases the production of serotonin and dopamine, which help to significantly improve our mood.

This effect is due to curcumin inhibiting the activity of an enzyme called monoamine oxidase, which breaks down mood-boosting neurotransmitters such as serotonin. When the activity of this enzyme slows down, the decomposition of serotonin occurs at a slower rate, leaving it in the bloodstream for longer periods of time and contributing to the improvement of our mood.

4. Consume more B vitamins

B vitamins play key roles in the body, such as helping with growth, preventing blood shortage, maintaining normal metabolic processes, and more. In this group of vitamins, there are two types that affect the production of serotonin - vitamin B6 and vitamin B12. It is important to consume these vitamins in your diet, as the body can’t produce them on its own, and you can do so by eating fish, chickpeas, rice, potatoes or by taking supplements. Increasing the intake of these two vitamins contributes significantly to the treatment of depression.


5. Add magnesium to your diet

Magnesium is an essential mineral for the body, which is responsible for lowering stress, regulating neural activity and producing serotonin. Increased magnesium intake in people with depression helps improve the condition, and it can also help anyone who wants to "lift" their mood. Add Magnesium to your diet by consuming foods such as whole grains, seeds, and bananas.


6. Take in some rays

Sun exposure is essential for a variety of functions, such as vitamin D production, and is also important for the normal production of serotonin. Exposure to the sun for 20-30 minutes increases the production of serotonin in the body, and that’s why we feel much better after a short trip outdoors, especially when we aren’t feeling so well.

Researchers found that the sun's rays stimulate the serotonin production system and cause it to produce the necessary amounts for regularity in mood.  To prevent sun damage from prolonged exposure, it is recommended to go out in the early morning or late in the afternoon, when the rays are weaker and you can enjoy the health benefits that the sun provides without fear of getting sunburned.


7. Exercise more often

Physical training is essential for a healthy lifestyle, but many of us find excuses that prevent us from getting off the couch and starting. Besides improving overall health, exercise also improves serotonin levels in the body, so it is recommended to find at least a few minutes per day for some cardio-boosting exercise.

Such training increases the production of serotonin in the body and also increases the levels of endorphins, both of which can give you a mood-boost, and this effect can quickly lead to you wanting to work out regularly. If you manage to overcome the initial difficulty, you’ll soon start to look forward to your daily workout because of its mood-boosting benefits. 

8. Look for the positives in life

This may sound a little cliché, but if you focus on the positive things in life, your mood improves dramatically. This action has a tremendous impact on the body, and when we focus on positive things, the amount of serotonin in our bodies increases. This effect can be achieved by the positive thinking that accompanies the activities you enjoy, such as doing hobbies, spending time with people you love, and even writing a thankfulness diary, where you will write down the big and small things you’re thankful for every day.


9. Meditate

Many people think that meditation has only spiritual effects, but this isn’t true -  it has many physical effects as well. Practicing daily meditation increases the production of 5HIAA, an acid which takes part in the production of serotonin that is needed to improve mood. In addition, meditation helps to reduce the levels of stress hormones that cause us mental tension and dissatisfaction, meaning, it too has a powerful double advantage. If you find regular meditation boring click here to discover 6 alternative and original types of meditation. 

10. Cut back on sugar

When we eat something sweet, we have a momentary rewarding sense of joy, but it passes quickly and we go back to feeling how we felt before taking that sinful bite. There is a direct connection between low levels of serotonin and sweets, because insulin is required to assemble certain parts of serotonin, and eating high-sugar foods increases insulin levels and, consequently, serotonin levels.

However, as noted, eating something sweet causes a momentary improvement of mood, which "crashes" quickly and we return to feeling sad and consuming more sugar to make ourselves feel better, thus creating a cycle of sugary and sweet foods, so you should reduce your sugar intake and use other serotonin-boosting methods that do not include sugary foods. seratonin

11. Maintain a balance of gut bacteria

In our intestines, there are bacteria that benefit us and those that harm us, and it’s important that the scale is tilted towards those that do good for our bodies. When the balance is disturbed, the bacteria can’t absorb the nutrients needed to produce serotonin, which adversely affects our mood in the short and long term.

To prevent this, you can consume probiotic foods such as yogurt or kefir, which increase the production of serotonin and thus contribute to the improvement of mood over time. In a study published in 2016, this association was proven, and researchers found that the consumption of probiotic bacteria reduced the number of subjects who were depressed, so a simple yogurt can have far-reaching effects on your mood as well.

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