We all know that serotonin is the "happy hormone" but new research has shown it can keep you burning fat beyond the gym! Read below to find out more:
NEW Research: Boosted serotonin levels help you boost your fat burning levels!
Looking for a little extra help to shift those extra pounds?
New research from the Scripps Research Institute has shown higher serotonin levels can increase fat burning rate in the gut.
If you want to get a little help from the “happy hormone”, don’t worry! Our experts have got you covered with their top 10 tips:
Put Your Trainers On
Everyone knows that exercise is not only the best way to get in shape but also one of the best mood boosters around. Shona Wilkinson, nutritionist at SuperfoodUK.com explains:
“Daily exercise is the easiest and the most effective way to increase serotonin levels. However, make sure you chose an activity that you really like and enjoy. If you feel like you are forcing yourself it may not have the same beneficial effects. That may be a result of our ancient instincts. Our brain can tell the difference between running because you're hunting something, and running because it's hunting you.”
Get Your Omegas
If you want to boost your serotonin levels it’s important to supplement your diet with lots of foods that can improve your brainpower. Dr Marilyn Glenville, the UK’s leading nutritionist and author of ‘Natural Alternatives to Sugar’ (Amazon, £7.17), says:
“We’ve all heard of fish being great ‘brain food’ and there is a reason for this. Almost 60% of our brains are made up of fat, and about half of that fat is DHA omega 3 fatty acids that really can only be found in fish. Omega 3 are known as ‘essential’ fats (essential because we cannot make them in the body and therefore need to get through eating oily fish and taking a good high strength supplement) are needed for the brain cells to actually ‘pick up’ our neurotransmitters (i.e. serotonin) so they can be utilised by the brain cells for efficiently.”
Watch Something Funny
Serotonin is known as your “happy hormone” for a reason – It can be boosted through laughter, so watch a funny YouTube video or an old episode of your favourite show.
Hug It Out
You always feel better after a hug because it gives you a little boost of something just as good as serotonin! Shona says:
“Oxytocin is another ‘feel good’ hormone. Released when we experience physical contact from a loved one, this unique hormone is just as powerful as serotonin. Whenever you feel low and need a lift, grab a hug off your favourite person for a natural feel-good, fuzzy feeling.”
Boost Your Vitamin B
Topping up on Vitamin B is one of the major ways to increase your serotonin levels. It can be found in most dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, lentils and brown rice but you if you want an extra boost you should take a supplement. Shona says:
“B vitamins are thought to support and increase the rate of metabolism, maintain healthy skin, hair and muscle tone, help with energy levels and enhance immune system and nervous system function. They also help promote cell growth and division, including that of the red blood cells that help prevent anemia. Take a B complex supplement with food in the morning.”
Look After Your Second Brain
Did you know that your gut is so important is essentially acts as your second brain?
An overload of bad bacteria in your gut can in turn lower your serotonin levels. You can balance the bacteria in your gut through fermented foods but it’s probably easier to pop a probiotic. Nutritionist, Cassandra Barns explains:
“If you don’t like the sound of fermented foods I’d recommend taking a probiotic. Try Pro-Ven Adult Probiotic 25 Billion (£13.95, Boots), which contains Lab4, the most comprehensively studied group of friendly bacteria of any product in the UK. This provides real benefits in supporting digestive and immune health.”
Feeling the winter blues? Improve your serotonin levels by getting outside, Shona explains:
“Bright daylight entering your eyes triggers serotonin production. Even on an overcast day, natural daylight is much brighter than artificial light indoors. Do what you can to maximise your natural light exposure, such as going for a run outside, to help boost those vitamin D levels”
“To boost your vitamin D levels even further, especially with the dark evenings drawing in you can also try a supplement such as, Vega Vitamins Every Day D Spray (£5.95, vegavitamins.co.uk),” adds Nutritionist, Cassandra Barns.
Spice Up Your Life
Turmeric contains the ingredient cucumin that has been shown to increase the absorption levels of serotonin and dopamine in the brain. Cassandra explains:
“It’s possible you’d have to consume several teaspoons a day of a good-quality turmeric to find any benefit and it’s also quite difficult to absorb in this pure form. This is where curcumin supplements can be a good option.
“I’d recommend Quest’s CurQuMax (£9.99, www.qnutrapharma.com) which is a concentrated curcumin supplement (over 95% curcumin) that also contains piperine, an extract from black pepper that’s been found to improve the effectiveness of curcumin in the body. It can be a convenient, easier and more effective alternative to taking turmeric powder every day.”
Get A Massage
Treat yourself and boost your serotonin levels with a bit of pampering. A study from the University of Miami has found that the power of touch is not a myth, and that having a massage increases your serotonin levels by 28%!
Magnesium is one of the most important minerals for relaxing nerves and muscles as well as boosting your energy and mood. Shona explains:
“If you are feeling tired, irritated or struggle to get up every morning, Magnesium is an excellent mineral to take, as it plays a major role in the development of serotonin. It can also increase energy levels and helps us to feel better about ourselves.”
“Try to include dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, fish, whole grains and bananas in your diet, which are all rich in magnesium. Alternatively, to make sure you’re getting your daily dose I would recommend taking Natures Plus KalmAssure Magnesium Capsules (£11.75, www.naturesplus.co.uk), which are very easy to absorb and easily delivered to the tissues. You will see the difference after 3 months”
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