Our intestinal system is so connected with our mood and how we feel, that it is often referred to as our ‘second brain’. We have more messengers known as ‘neurotransmitters’ in our gut than we do in our brain!
Serotonin can help lift mood, as well as helping us to sleep better and to curb cravings, improve our overall sense of well-being, temper anxiety, and relieve depression. So how can you optimise the production of serotonin in the gut, naturally?
Here are 5 easy ways you can help clean up your intestinal system, lift your mood, and make the most of the festive season with friends and family;
Balance is everything
We need lots of ‘good’ health-promoting bacteria living with us and fewer of the ‘bad’ ones. Eat fermented foods that are naturally high in probiotics such as sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi, miso, olives and homemade yoghurt.
Avoid or restrict sugar and refined carbohydrates
Sugar feeds bad bacteria and yeasts, providing a perfect breeding ground for both, so enjoying these foods on special occasions only .
The precursor to serotonin, is an amino acid called tryptophan. Boost your tryptophan intake by increasing foods such as turkey, fish, cottage cheese and pumpkin seeds.
We are what we eat?
Include good quality protein with lunch time meals ,oily fish, bean shoots, seeds, quinoa, beans and lentils, along with half a plate full of vegetables which includes plenty of green leafy vegetables. Try and have soups in the evening and avoid to eat protein at night.
Reduce chronic stress
Stress can ruin digestive health, from bloating to constipation to diarrhoea, it can deplete serotonin levels and damage serotonin receptors sites. Learn to manage stress more effectively, try long winter walks all wrapped up, listening to relaxing music, deep breathing exercises, or hot baths with Epsom salts!