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Serotonin and Appetite

What You Need to Know About Serotonin and Food Cravings

Do you watch what you eat and exercise, but stay the same size? A serotonin imbalance could be the reason that you're finding it difficult to regulate your food choices.

Serotonin may be best known as a neurotransmitter that fights anxiety and depression. It also plays a major role in digestive health. In fact, most of the serotonin in your body is in your gut, rather than in your brain.

I invite you to use this information and make it work for you. Learn more below about how serotonin can affect your appetite and a few lifestyle choices you can implement that will help the serotonin to do its job.

How Serotonin Affects Appetite:

  1. Proper Amounts of Serotonin naturally regulate your weight. Serotonin affects your brain’s melanocortin system, which is partly responsible for controlling your appetite and cravings. It activates neurons that decrease appetite and blocks others that increase appetite.

  2. Proper Amounts of Serotonin helps lesson intense food cravings. Do you yearn for chips and cookies in the late afternoon and evening? Serotonin can be especially helpful in reducing carbohydrate cravings. Keep in mind that your body still needs some healthy carbohydrate calories, typically about 40% of your daily intake.

  3. Proper Amounts of Serotonin Support a Healthy Metabolism. Low serotonin levels can cause your body to store more fat. Correcting any imbalance can help you lose weight around your midsection, which is very beneficial for your overall health.

  4. Proper Amounts of Serotonin Help Prevent Emotional Eating. Do you reach for comfort food when you’re sad or frustrated? You may find yourself eating less as serotonin helps stabilize your moods.

How to Boost Serotonin:

  1. WORK OUT!! Physical exercise increases serotonin. Aim for at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity. Focus on a variety of cardio activities and strength training for a balanced routine.

  2. Focus on Eating Whole Foods. A nutritious diet rich in whole foods supports serotonin production. For a bigger boost, consume plenty of probiotics and foods high in tryptophan, like salmon and chia seeds.

  3. Manage stress. On the other hand, cortisol and other stress hormones suppress serotonin. It is essential for you to manage your stress properly and eliminate the sources as much as possible. This is not just for your serotonin levels, but every other body function is hindered by stress.

  4. See your doctor. There can be many medical reasons why you have trouble losing weight. Your doctor can help you understand your serotonin needs and other treatment options. Don't give up after one trip to the doctor... many are dismissive and your may need to push and pry for more testing. YOU are you own best advocate and YOU know your body the best.

When your serotonin levels are balanced, you’ll have more energy and feel satisfied while enjoying higher quality foods. Along with getting off the diet/binge rollercoaster, you will likely enjoy greater happiness, sounder sleep, and significant relief from headaches and many other common conditions. Take this information as a jumping off point to start your own investigation into how we can increase our serotonin naturally and effectively. Let me know what you find out!

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