Winter is that season when leaving bed in the morning is a daily struggle, and all you want to do is curl up on the couch all day long! According to health experts, such behaviors during colder months are totally natural! The lack of bright sunlight during winter causes the serotonin levels in our bodies to dip. Serotonin, or the ‘happy hormone,’ is a special chemical that regulates our bodily functions, including digestion, sleep, and even mood. Its deficiency can cause anxiety, sleep disturbances, and digestive issues, making you feel moody, tired, or sluggish. Here are a few easy ways to naturally combat serotonin shortage.
Eat More Shellfish and Fish
Shellfish and fish are great natural sources of vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 affects the serotonin levels in our brains by giving them a positive boost. According to a report by Season Nutrition Partnership, a four-ounce serving of clams is surprisingly richer in this essential vitamin than a piece of salmon or cod and can help you to heal your mood from the inside out. Chicken, eggs, beef, cheese, and yogurt also contain a pretty good amount of vitamin B12.
Go for a Foot Massage
Cortisol is a type of stress hormone that hinders serotonin release in our bodies. And a foot massage can do more than just revitalize your tired tootsies by lowering the cortisol levels in your body. A research study in the Journal of the Korean Academy of Nursing showed that participants receiving regular 30-minute foot reflexology massage sessions had noticeably lower levels of cortisol and higher levels of serotonin than the rest of the subjects.
Take Saffron as a Supplement
According to a 2018 research, safranal, the compound found in saffron, provides an antidepressant effect by preventing the reabsorption of serotonin in our body. So, whether or not you love adding this vividly fragrant spice to your cooking, taking saffron in supplement form can come with a more direct health benefit of upping your daily serotonin levels. Though, it’s always better to discuss with your doctor or nutritionist before starting any new supplement.
Laugh More Regularly
There’s nothing like a good laugh to deliver your brain a hefty boost of happy serotonin. Whether you giggle with your grandchildren or laugh along watching your favorite sitcom, tickling the funny bones is an instant mood lifter. A 2018 study showed that a weekly 30-minutes laughter therapy session helped participants to reduce their systolic heart rate and blood pressure and increased their serotonin levels within a month.