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Scientifically Natural Ways to Boost Serotonin for Improving Mood and Reducing Depression

This article will show you natural ways to boost serotonin, the chemical responsible for elevating mood and reducing anxiety and depression.

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What is serotonin?

In the neurological structure of our bodies, lie several neurotransmitters responsible for transmitting the onset or decrease of various functions in our brain and body. One such neurotransmitter is Serotonin. As a neurotransmitter or chemical messenger, Serotonin is believed by scientists to act as a mood stabilizer as research has found some association between depression and reduced levels of Serotonin.

In lay terms, serotonin relays signals between your nerve cells and is found predominantly in the digestive system, in blood platelets and throughout the central nervous system. The chemical is derived from an amino acid called tryptophan which is derived from dietary foods such as cheese, nuts and red meat. It is a deficiency in tryptophan that reduces serotonin thereby reducing your mood and increasing depression.

It needs to be emphasized that as an antidepressant, serotonin levels can only be increased in the body and brain by ingesting either of the two amino acids tryptophan and/or 5-hydroxytryptophan.

Serotonin also plays a major role in several bodily functions

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But!!  As they say too much of a good thing is bad so  it is with increased levels of serotonin over and above what your body really needs. Serotonin levels can increase because of certain medication resulting in decreased arousal and loss of libido. Now that may make any reader wonder why then the need to increase serotonin. The need to increase serotonin concerns more those persons suffering from the effects of decreased levels of the chemical and whom are patents of anxiety, panic disorders and depression.

Natural ways to boost serotonin by increasing tryptophan from food

Rather than rely on supplements and medication, adopting natural ways to boost serotonin is advisable through nutrition. Research has proved that in the case of a low tryptophan diet, serotonin levels in the brain decrease leading to conditions of anxiety and depression.

St. John’s Wort

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This herb has proved its efficacy in reducing mild to moderate depression. It has been observed to work as a natural SSRI (selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor) by preventing the breakdown of serotonin in the brain.

Eggs

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Research says that protein rich eggs increase plasma levels of tryptophan. Never leave out the yolks because that’s where you’ll find the amino acid available. Egg yolk contains tryptophan, choline, tyrosine, biotin, omega 3 fatty acids and various nutrients. In fact a study at Leiden University Netherlands found how eating eggs rich in tryptophan induced feelings of kindness and generosity.

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Cheese

Cheese is also a good source of tryptophan. A mac and cheese made from a combo of cheddar, eggs and milk can give you a healthy dose of tryptophan

Pineapples

Pineapples are rich in Bromelain a protein that reduces the side effects of chemotherapy. It also helps in suppressing coughs. Bromelain is an enzyme with anti inflammatory properties . According to the journal of endocrinology, Pineapple boosts the release of serotonin and melatonin while sleeping. Serotonin produces melatonin a hormone responsible for sleep.

Tofu

Soy products contain tryptophan. Soy can be substituted for protein and is a good choice for vegans and vegetarians where protein is concerned. Soy is also rich in calcium.

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Salmon

One can never go wrong eating salmon. As a rich source of omega 3 fatty acids, salmon is rich in tryptophan. Try out this recipe to make a nice Salmon frittata. Compared to other fish, Salmon is richer in health ingredients that improve cognitive function, regulate cholesterol and reduce blood pressure.

Turkey and chicken breast

Besides being rich in tryptophan turkey and chicken breast is an excellent dietary choice for athletes and bodybuilders. Both these food items are also rich in protein and amino acids essential for protein synthesis in muscles and muscle recovery. One call easily called turkey, stuffed tryptophan.

Carbs combined with tryptophan rich foods will help increase serotonin

Tryptophan rich foods don’t really boost serotonin on its own. Carbs are your cheat sheet to boost serotonin. Combining such foods with healthy complex carbs increases serotonin.  Carbs promote the release of insulin by the body which in turn boosts the absorption of tryptophan in the blood. Combine your tryptophan rich foods with a serving of carbs like oatmeal, brown rice, whole grain bread, legumes, whole grain pastas, sweet potatoes and parsnips.

Further ways to boost serotonin

There is no substitute to a doctor’s advice and your own prescribed medication; however a study report in the journal of psychiatry and neurosciences has advocated the following natural ways to boost serotonin other than drugs. The study found that hostility and negativity leads to one of the largest causes of mortality which is coronary heart disease (CHD). The study says that positive mood within normal ranges is an important predictor of health and longevity. This echoes the constitution of the WHO (World Health Organization) which says “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

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Exposure to bright light: a healthy dose of sunshine or time spent outdoors among greenery and a walk in the park during the day can boost serotonin.

Meditation:  Research has found that self induced changes in mood can influence serotonin synthesis, Thus happiness also influences the levels of serotonin. This is why the study also contemplates the factor osf mood improved by psychotherapy could be accompanied by increase in serotonin.

Exercise: various national health services like the NHS of the UK advocate treating mild clinical depression exercise. Exercises like aerobic, cardio and yoga can do much to stimulate your metabolism and even increase your mood by de stressing and relaxing you mentally.

Read here: 7 ways on how to improve mood through exercise for good health and happiness

Positivity: As mentioned earlier, never giving in to the intensity of negativity and harboring feelings of happiness can improve mood and influence serotonin production

Increasing healthy Gut bacteria: consuming prebiotic and probiotic foods to promote healthy gut bacteria can do much in influencing serotonin levels though the association of the gut and brain. One can also resort to probiotic supplements which are relatively safe.

Such are the natural ways to boost serotonin. All of the above compiled advice is for information only and does not promote medication of any sort as that is solely the prerogative of a certified doctor. Always consult your doctor when unsure about any medical condition.

 

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7 Healthy Indoor Plants That Cool Your Home in Summer

Blasting your air-conditioner in the summer can provide you with immense relief but what happens when you get your energy bill? In an effort to stay cool, one should also explore natural cooling alternatives within the home that will reduce your electricity costs. Keeping healthy indoor plants that cool a home is one of the best ways to reduce the temperature of a house in summer. It is also an environmentally friendly way to cool your house down.

The biggest advantage of keeping   certain species of indoor plants is the fact that they cool a room and remove toxins from the atmosphere. You get the combined benefit of cool purified and fresh air.

How plants cool a room

Plants cool down a house through the process of transpiration. During transpiration, plants lose water which cools down the air around it. In the process, toxins are removed as well. Accoridng to Dr Leonard Perry, professor at the University of Vermont adds that “a USDA estimate is that proper use of plants could decrease air temperature in an office by as much as ten degrees. Plus, the moisture released by these plants helps maintain indoor humidity in the human comfort zone of 30 to 60 percent, and helps prevent materials such as wood from cracking when dried out.”

1.Aloe Vera

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Aloe Vera is always on every list of indoor plants because of its fantastic health and cooling properties. The gel in its leaves can be used for treating several skin conditions, while the plant itself cools down the temperature and removes formaldehyde from the atmosphere.

2. Areca Palm

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The Areca palm is one of the most popular indoor plants used as a decorative fixture, air purification and as a natural dehumidifier. The areca palm also removes toxins such as benzene formaldehyde and trichloroethylene from the air.

3.Weeping Fig

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Weeping fig or the ficus tree can cool down temperatures, reduce atmospheric pollution and improve air quality.

4. Boston Fern

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Boston Ferns de-humidify and cool down air. Among healthy indoor plants, they are regarded as among the best for air purification. Along with aloe vera, it was one of the plants researched by NASA in studies on plants that purify the air.

5. Snake Plant

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Known also as mother-in-law’s tongue was also included in NASA research as plants that cool air. It is a perfect bedroom plant which unlike other plants emits oxygen at night which reduces indoor temperatures while you sleep. The snake plant also absorbs toxins like nitrogen dioxide from the air. It can be maintained with irregular watering and low light. Keep at least 6 to 8 plants around and within your home to get maximum effect

6. Baby Rubber Plant

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The baby rubber plant releases high levels of oxygen into the atmosphere and removes toxins like formaldehyde. It needs planting in rich soil and requires filtered light.

7. Golden Pothos

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Also called the Silver Vine, the plant is regarded a some of the best healthy indoor plants that cool and purify a home. It improves air quality by removing pollutants like formaldehyde, benzene, xylene and carbon monoxide. The biggest advantage of keeping a golden pothos is the low maintenance as it doesn’t require much watering and just partial sun.

 

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10 Hidden Causes of Acne and How to Get Rid of It

Dealing with unwanted pimples or acne can be long and somewhat tiresome. There are many hidden causes of acne where most cases of pimples/acne are caused by external factors affecting your skin. But the good news is that there are easier and effective natural methods of treatment which will completely bring back that clear-smooth skin of yours.

Neck

Neck acne could be caused by a tight collar, perspiration or an allergic reaction to your hair rinse or shampoo. Sometimes excessive consumption of sweets can lead to pimples in the neck area.

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The Treatment: Soak a piece of cotton in pure lime or lemon juice and wipe the skin on your neck with it. Don’t dry or wash your neck immediately after wiping it with the lime/lemon water soaked cotton. Wait for around 10 minutes and then use lukewarm water to wash it off.

Shoulders and Back

Tight-fit synthetic clothing and backpack straps (sometimes) can be one of the hidden causes of acne on the shoulder and back. The appearance of small red pimples in these areas can also be caused due to a reaction to household cleaning products. Fried foods and other fat-filled foods are one more reason to give you acne/ pimples on your shoulders and back.

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The Treatment: Take a salt-water bath once a week or wash these areas lightly with some apple cider vinegar mixed in water with vinegar to water ratio being 1:2.

Arms

Pimples on the arms are mainly due to allergic reactions to strong chemical soaps or shower gel, and digestion problems. Other hidden causes of acne involve contracting a fungal infection, which inflames and causes acne, from the places you go and the things your skin might come in contact with. For instance you went for a nice relaxing sauna or a swim in the pool or even a good workout at the gym of your club.

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The Treatment: If the acne/pimples aren’t the result of a fungal infection, then a simple remedy using potato juice will get rid of them. Cut a raw potato in two and rub the fleshy part on your pimple and skin. After about thirty minutes or so, wash it off. However, if the pimples are brought about by a fungal infection then consulting a dermatologist is advisable.

Chest

Acne on your chest can be caused due to various factors such as dirt, excessive sweat, shower gel, spices, seafood and even carbonated drinks.

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The Treatment: Make a paste by mixing baking soda in water and apply it on your chest. Proceed to massage the skin with it and then wash it off using lukewarm water.

Legs

Acne on the leg isn’t as common as acne on the skin of the upper body and face, but it still does occur. Tight-fitting synthetic clothing and unhygienic habits are some common causes of acne on the legs. Shaving of the leg hair with a dull razor blade can cause pimples to appear later especially if you shave against the hair growth.

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The Treatment: Simply add a few drops of tea free oil to your shower gel (say 5-6 drops) and then proceed to use it the usual way for your baths.

 

 

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Dealing with unwanted pimples or acne can be long and somewhat tiresome. There are many hidden causes of acne where …