by Tony Gjokaj August 20, 2020 4 min read
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 email@example.com.
Until next time, Reforged Legion!
Tony is the Owner of Reforged. He is a PN1 Certified Nutrition Coach and has been in the fitness space for over a decade. His goal is to help millions exercise their way out of depression and anxiety.
by Tony Gjokaj February 21, 2024 4 min read
In the battle against depression, exercise stands as a powerful ally.
Yet, for many, the mere thought of hitting the gym or going for a run can feel daunting.
The key lies in transforming exercise from a chore into a journey.
A place where you not only become physically stronger... but mentally as well.
In this guide, we'll explore actionable strategies to enhance motivation, streamline the exercise process, and cultivate a consistent routine that amplifies its mood-boosting benefits.
Let's dive in!
by Tony Gjokaj January 25, 2024 3 min read
Did you know that our relationship with food is deeply intertwined with our psychology?
The convenience and allure of processed foods often tap into our psychological triggers, making it challenging to break free from their hold.
However, by understanding our behaviors and implementing strategic psychological practices, we can successfully reduce our reliance on processed foods.
In this blog, we'll explore five behavioral strategies that leverage psychology to foster healthier eating habits.
Let's dive in!
by Tony Gjokaj January 11, 2024 4 min read
Navigating through the challenges of depression can be a difficult journey for many.
In the quest for mental well-being, you know that exercise is a powerful tool to have in your arsenal.
However there will be days where you're not motivated... and only with carefully crafted discipline, can we do what we need to do when we aren't motivated to do it.
What exactly is discipline, and how can we use it on our journey?
In this blog post, we will explore the essence of discipline and delve into five effective ways to cultivate this invaluable trait.
Let's dive in!