If you find yourself feeling low, unhappy, depressed, or bored, and end up feeling better after a salty or a sugary treat, it is likely that you are suffering from low serotonin levels. So what is serotonin and what does it have to do with your mood? Moreover, why does eating that bar of chocolate have you feel better immediately? Serotonin is a neurotransmitter in the human body that is often referred to as the ‘feel good hormone’. In essence, it is a neurotransmitter, which when in appropriate levels in the body, can have you feel positive and energetic.
With low serotonin, you are likely to feel out of energy and depressed (which unleashes a lot of other emotions such as loneliness, boredom, anxiety, etc.) Then you go and grab that pastry or donut, down it and find yourself feeling better. After a couple of hours, you’re back to feeling low, and again, you eat something that will give you an instant ‘high’. This is what also commonly leads to weight gain; eating just for the sake of eating, not when you are hungry. The cause for all this is low serotonin levels in the body. Now, while that sugary treat will give you instant gratification, there are certain foods that are known to increase serotonin and keep it that way in the long run. These foods are not temporary solutions to your low mood, but permanent ones. What are these foods that raise serotonin levels the natural way? Let’s take a look.
Foods that Boost Serotonin Levels Naturally
While food is not the only way you can increase serotonin levels, it is a very important aspect that keeps you going, keeps you positive, and allows you to function by providing clarity of thought. These serotonin foods have been discussed here, under specific nutrient groups.
Group 1: Proteins
Protein rich foods contain an amino acid called tryptophan; an important amino acid that is converted to serotonin in the brain. Moreover, protein rich foods also help deal with weight problems. The list of foods rich in tryptophan and protein have been enlisted here.
Poultry (eggs, chicken, turkey, veal)
Fish (salmon, tuna)
Lean meat (pork, lamb)
Dairy (low fat milk, cheese such as cottage cheese, yogurt)
Soy products (milk, beans, nuts)
Legumes (peas, green beans, black-eyed peas, chickpeas, black beans, lentils, lima beans, kidney beans)
The dairy in this group also provides calcium, another important nutrient required by the body to synthesize serotonin. The vitamins in legumes are also essential in ensuring that your serotonin levels are brought back to normal.
Group 2: Carbohydrates
You might argue that the chocolate and the pastry and your favorite donut along with a dish of pasta or risotto are all carbohydrates that are necessary to boost serotonin. However, as has been mentioned earlier, all these simple carbohydrates give you a temporary result, what is popularly known as a ‘sugar rush’. Once this rush wears out, you are back to your original state of mind. As such, what you need are complex carbohydrates that digest slowly, get into the blood, and are transported to the brain to elevate the levels of serotonin.
Another important role of carbohydrates is that they enhance insulin production that enables tryptophan to reach the brain quicker. This is why it is important to first have a protein rich meal and follow it up with some carbohydrates, say about 2 hours thereafter, to allow tryptophan to reach the brain and convert into serotonin. What comprises these complex carbohydrates? Here’s a list of some foods that will help.
Whole wheat crackers
Nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans)
Vegetables (yams, sweet potatoes, squashes – a very rich source of carbohydrates)
Dark Chocolate (in limited amounts)
Air popped popcorn
Another important tip to get rid of the lethargy and increase serotonin naturally is to avoid all those high calorie foods that you used to rush for whenever unhappy. You are all aware of the effects of such foods. They only add to your misery after you have eaten them. Also stay away from caffeine as much as you can. If you can’t give it up completely, reduce the amount you consume. Avoid the sodas completely, and try to consume only your mandatory morning cup of tea or coffee. Avoid it during the rest of the day.
Other Important Measures to Raise Serotonin Levels
As mentioned earlier, the aforementioned foods are not the only way you can increase serotonin. They play an extremely important role in doing so, but without certain other measures, they may not be as effective. What else can you do to ensure that you find yourself feeling positive and ready to deal with all that life gives you everyday? Take a look.
Exercise: The most important measure apart from feeding yourself right is to get that body moving. Now if you have a negative association with exercise, you are obviously not going to enjoy it. Try performing different types of exercises in groups. Join a yoga, Zumba, aerobics, kick-boxing, aqua aerobics, or dance class to enjoy it thoroughly. Swim, cycle, trek, or simply walk if you want to enjoy it alone. But ensure you exercise at least thrice a week to get that feel good hormone flowing in your body.
Relax: Whatever your idea of relaxation is, engage in it. Whether it is listening to music, watching a light movie, going shopping, reading, painting, cooking, or meditating, give some time to only yourself. Your brain needs a break from all those thoughts you have flooded it with. It is difficult to switch off completely, but a regular diversion from the mundane is always welcome.
Sleep: Even if you have trouble falling asleep, make sure you are in bed at a fixed time. Sleep plays a very important role in serotonin production, and without it, not only your mind, but your body suffers too. Once you establish a routine you are likely to get the necessary 6-8 hours of sleep daily.
Get Enough Sunlight: Sunlight is known to increase the levels of serotonin hormone. Spending about half an hour in the sun every morning will not only give you your necessary vitamin D, it will also rejuvenate and revitalize you greatly, so that you can face your day with energy and a clear mind.
All of us tend to ignore our body and its needs in our daily rut. Just remember that the more you ignore your body, the greater trouble it is going to cause in the future. Pay attention to it, give it time. If you find yourself feeling low and worn out everyday, it is a sign that your body needs attention because the serotonin levels may have plummeted. Consume the aforementioned foods that raise serotonin levels and follow the other tips. You are bound to feel better in a few weeks. If you don’t, it is advisable that you visit your physician so that the root of the problem can be addressed.
Disclaimer: This Buzzle article is for informative purposes only, and does not in any way attempt to replace the diagnosis of a doctor. Visiting your physician is the safest way to diagnose and treat any health condition.
Depression is a disease and its acceptance is the first step to dealing with it. Many people who suffer from various types of depression are married. It’s obvious that this depression is going to have its effects on the marriage, but does depression cause divorce? This is something we will have to look at in detail. Many times, depression can lead to stress, anxiety and intolerance towards the depressed partner but separation is too big a step. A lot of women suffer from postpartum depression and this doesn’t only have its effects on the marriage but on the upbringing of the child too. If the case is severe, the husband might consider separation so that it doesn’t affect his children. Depression in one of the partners, is one of the top reasons for divorce today. Yes, there are a few people who keep at it and continuously support their partners, but the rest think only of letting go.
How Depression Affects Marriage: Examples
There are many perspectives we need to consider when we talk about divorce due to depression. The intensity and stage of the depression matters a lot when you consider separation. Some people stay with their partners and help them as much as they can while others can’t and find an escape route by indulging in infidelity. Let’s read more on this to see whether divorce is the only solution.
If you want to know how does depression cause divorce, this is the simplest example. Depression kills the emotional connect two people share in a relationship. If you have to sustain any sort of relation with anyone, you need to put in emotions from both the ends. If those emotions are not reciprocated, the other partner is bound to feel ignored and neglected. Two people get married because they understand each other better than anyone else does. If one partner suffers from depression, the other has no one left to rely on for support. The increasing emotional gap distances the partners. If the sole motive of staying together is lost, divorce becomes inevitable.
When a person suffers from depression, he is continuously thinking about negative aspects of his or her life. They can’t see any positivity in their lives and so, in their married life as well. When there is continuous negativity in marriage, eventually there is only sadness. Happy moments, slowly become extinct. There is nothing to look forward to in the relationship. This means that the relationship isn’t growing and has become stagnant. After a time, the other partner will stop taking initiatives to renew this marriage and it may lead to divorce.
Does depression cause divorce as a result of too many responsibilities? Yes, it can. This is a perfect example of depression after pregnancy. Many women suffer from postpartum depression and this leads to a lot of stress on the married couple. The birth of a child should be a reason for happiness. Couples need to start living this new life together. However, in these circumstances, the wife goes into depression and the responsibility of the newborn is left to the father along with that of his job. The marriage is anyway going through a truckload of problems and now, due to these extra responsibilities, the husband’s professional work might also get affected.
If one of the partners is in depression for a long time, the other one starts taking the blame for it in one or the other way. There are many partners who tend to be very supportive of their partners and try to help. However, when things don’t seem to improve one bit, there is a lot of emotional chaos. People might even start thinking that they are emotionally incapable of supporting their depressed better halves. When the depressed person distances himself/herself in the marriage, the other partner at times, starts believing that he/she is not worthy of that person and this fact is leading to their depression. In such circumstances, a divorce can be thought of as the solution.
Another Understanding Shoulder
When your partner is continuously sad about life and has no room for you to share and grow together, there might come a time when you would contemplate getting into an extramarital affair. Though this is taking into consideration the extreme, partners are bound to look at someone else for support, someone to talk to. There have been cases where the reason for infidelity was the depression of one partner.
So, does depression cause divorce? After reading through this piece of information, I think it is safe to say that yes, depression can lead to divorce. If your partner is going through depression, I would advice you to help as much as you can. No one can help them and support them better than you can. Yes, it is very stressful but marriage also means that you are there for each other in sickness and in health, isn’t it?