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 October 07, 2022 4 min read
Men, I know what it is like to be overweight and depressed.
Not having the energy to do anything but relax and sleep.
While relaxation and sleep are incredibly important, they can make us feel like we are not making progress in our lives.
And when depression hits, it’s very difficult to push through with exercise and weight loss.
But did you know that even though it takes time and some effort, you don’t need to get obsessively crazy over it?
In fact, with just a few small adjustments, you can lose weight, fight back against depression, and take your life back.
If you're serious about shedding pounds and pushing away those depression demons, here are five tips that can help get you started.
by Tony Gjokaj September 05, 2022 4 min read
A few weeks ago, my buddy Grant and I talked about nutrition.
We talked about how he's lost over 120 pounds so far with the weight loss progress he's been making.
This is all because he has been making healthier decisions over time.
One of the newest challenges he's facing right now is he's got a new job. He's working 10 to 12 hour days with physical demanding labor.
And what's been happening for him is that he's been super exhausted, he's not motivated to meal prep, he's having trouble trying to sit down and cook foods doesn't have the energy doesn't have the time.
So what I propose is five tips that you can use to live a more on the go fast food healthy eating lifestyle.
by Tony Gjokaj July 27, 2022 4 min read
Have you ever experienced anxiety that drains all of your productive energy?
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million adults in the US each year.
If you're someone who suffers from anxiety, you know that it can be incredibly debilitating. It can hold you back from some positive experiences and opportunities as a result.
The good news is that there are ways to overcome it!
In this blog post, we will discuss eight best tips for overcoming anxiety, from an expert that has been there themselves!
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