Do you diet and exercise, but stay the same size? A serotonin imbalance could be the reason that you find it difficult to lose weight.
Serotonin may be best known as a neurotransmitter that fights anxiety and depression. However, 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.
Put this natural appetite suppressant to work for you. Learn more about how serotonin affects weight loss and lifestyle choices you can make that will help it to do its job.
How Serotonin Affects Weight Loss:
- Curb your appetite. Serotonin affects your brain’s melanocortin system, which is partly responsible for controlling body weight. It activates some neurons that decrease appetite and blocks others that increase appetite.
- Resist 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.
- Burn more calories. Low serotonin levels may also 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.
- Reduce 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:
- Work out. Physical exercise increases serotonin. Aim for at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity. Focus on cardio activities and strength training if you’re trying to lose weight.
- Adjust your diet. A nutritious diet rich in whole foods supports serotonin production. For a bigger boost, consume probiotics and foods high in tryptophan, like salmon and chia seeds.
- Manage stress. On the other hand, cortisol and other stress hormones suppress serotonin. Develop a daily practice of taking time to relax.
- Consider supplements. While research findings are mixed, some adults report positive results using serotonin supplements. You can also find formulas with related substances like 5-HTP and vitamin D.
- 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.
Other Natural Appetite Suppressants:
- Eat more fiber. Along with serotonin and exercise, there are many more natural and safe ways to regulate hunger. One of the most effective is focusing on foods high in fiber that will fill you up with fewer calories.
- Drink water. Beverages with little or no calories can quench your thirst and make food easier to resist. Sip water or tea throughout the day.
- Slow down. Your brain needs about 20 minutes to register that it’s full. Sit down and savor your food. Talk with your family or dinner companions. You’ll make mealtimes less fattening and more fun.
- Add spices. Certain seasonings can put the brakes on your appetite. Flavor your dishes with ginger, black pepper, and cinnamon.
- Distract yourself. Remember there’s a difference between true hunger and appetite. You may be eating for psychological reasons if you only want something specific, like ice cream or pizza. Entertain yourself with activities other than food and give your cravings time to pass.
When your serotonin levels are balanced, you’ll have more energy and feel full while eating less food. Along with losing weight, you may also enjoy greater happiness, sounder sleep, and significant relief from headaches and many other common conditions.