Sometimes we think of “hormones” in terms of monthly fluctuations in women, or testosterone in men. But there are many types of hormones in the human body, and they influence a number of our bodily processes. In fact, a hormonal imbalance can cause trouble with everything from your mood, to sleep patterns, and even your weight loss plan. So we definitely want to make sure your hormones remain balanced at the appropriate levels.
Serotonin is one important hormone that plays a number of roles. It helps to regulate your mood, memory, appetite, and sleep. You probably think of it as the primary hormone involved in depression, but it also plays a part in digestion, heart function, and even bladder control. And when serotonin levels are disrupted, many bodily processes can become disordered. You might find yourself feeling depressed or craving certain foods, which can interrupt your weight loss plan.
Yes, medications in the SSRI category are sometimes prescribed to help regulate serotonin, but many people are looking for more natural ways to accomplish that goal. Since any medication can have potential side effects, it certainly makes sense to at least attempt to balance your hormones the natural way.
Eat serotonin-boosting foods. Nope, these aren’t necessarily the ones you crave when serotonin is low! Tryptophan is converted to serotonin in the brain, so eating foods high in this amino acid can help. Stock up on turkey, salmon, eggs, tofu, cheese, nuts, or seeds.
Exercise regularly. Yes, regular exercise really does boost your mood, because it helps maintain healthy serotonin levels. Some studies suggest that exercise is just as effective at combating depression as SSRIs!
Of course, if you’re suffering from severe depression, you might need a faster intervention. Do reach out to a mental health professional if you experience thoughts of suicide or harming another. And if you struggle with preparing healthy foods and finding the motivation to exercise, make an appointment with us. We want to support you as you pursue your weight loss plan.