Have you ever wondered if there was such a thing as a happy pill? Not only is there a pill that has the ability to help increase your happiness level, there are several that are safe and all natural too! When someone mentions a happy pill, the most common image that springs to mind is often Prozac or Valium. However, these pharmaceutical options can come with a long list of side effects. If only there was a safe all natural option. Luckily for us mother nature has our backs. This article will help break down some safe all natural options to help improve your Serotonin levels and keep you happy all year long. As an added bonus, I will include one of my favorite joy inspiring soup recipes for those of us who prefer to eat our medicine the way nature intended.
Paving The Way
Having read my last article on all natural foods that will help boost your Serotonin levels. You know by now that the foods we eat serve multiple purposes. With that in mind, some foods are better than others at improving our Serotonin production and absorption. Serotonin is one of the main hormones that helps to produce a feeling of happiness. Serotonin is found primarily in our digestive tract. It is produced from the amino acid tryptophan. There are several foods that are naturally dense in tryptophan. When it comes to supplements that have been shown to aid in Serotonin levels, they all revolve around promoting a healthy digestive tract.
The Gut is King
What does this mean for your health and happiness? The reality is that the two often go hand in hand. This may be one of the reasons why our mood tends to improve when our health does and vise versa. The best way to improve both is by strengthening our digestive health. Let’s face it our digestive system is without a doubt one of the most under recognised systems throughout our bodies. Most people are only now becoming aware of just how crucial our gut health is to our overall health.
The Many Hats of The Digestive System
The digestive system serves several purposes such as: the breaking down and absorption of nutrients, our first line of defense in our immune system, elimination of toxins, critical component in growth and development, our most powerful anti-aging advocate, and the unsung hero of our happiness. With so many different jobs it is clear to see that our digestive system can easily become overworked or overstressed at times. This is one of the main reasons it is pivotal that we take the time to ensure our digestive system has all of the supplies it needs to function at optimal efficiency.
Break it on Down
One of the most commonly known jobs of our digestive system is the breaking down and absorption of nutrients. But did you know that the nutrients we consume directly determine the efficiency in which our bodies can complete this task? There are certain foods, mainly foods that have been overly processed, that break down our digestive system and even destroy our digestion’s ability to function. Fortunately, wherever there is dark there is also light. This means that, while there may be foods that can destroy our digestive system, there are also foods that can help strengthen it and improve it. The majority of foods that can help improve our digestion are often high in probiotics or nutrient dense, such as whole foods and fermented foods.
The Best Offense
We all know that our immune system is paramount to our overall health. That is why we tend to devote the majority of our efforts to strengthen this system over the others. It also tends to be the system we focus on when it comes to our overall health. But what most people are unaware of is the fact that our stomach plays a critical role in our immune system. In fact, 70% of our immune system exists within our gut! How is that for undervalued? The ph levels of our stomach acid acts as our bodies first defense against unwanted intruders. Our stomach acid is capable of killing off the majority of our bodies invaders. As such it needs to be regulated to ensure that our greatest asset is constantly working to the best of its ability.
Out With The Old
It is safe to say that there are toxins and unwanted materials that happen to make it past our stomach. Not to mention the toxins that our bodies naturally produce during the process of breaking down nutrients. With all these unwanted substances in our bodies we need to have a way to remove them. Once again, the digestive system comes to our aid by eliminating any unwanted toxins and waste. When our bodies are faced with an upsurge of toxins or waste it becomes impossible for our bodies to complete their normal functions and daily tasks. The end result is most often the breaking down of organs, followed by entire systems. Unfortunately, our bodies cannot always keep up with the elimination of our toxic loads. Which is why detoxing regularly to aid our bodies is so beneficial.
Stop Aging In Its Tracks
We all know that our ability to grow and develop into adulthood is directly related to our ability to obtain the necessary nutrients. When we are denied the necessary nutrients we begin to see irregularities within our development. In fact, our bodies ability to produce growth hormones (which are needed for growth and development) are created within our digestive system. While other organs found within our digestive system, such as the liver, are devoted to helping us fight the hands of time. Again, another great reason to participate in a regular detox program to help alleviate any excess stress your liver may be under.
A Happy Belly
Lastly, the role our digestive system plays on our happiness. As I mentioned earlier in this article, one of the hormones that produces the feeling of happiness and contentment is produced within our digestive system. While the hormone Serotonin is not the only hormone responsible for creating our happily ever after. The bulk of our hormones are all created and regulated through our digestive system. Our digestive system plays such a large role in the production of Serotonin that every supplement that can improve it, also improves your digestive system.
- Omega 3
- Vitamin C
- Folic Acid
Magnesium plays a vital role in heart health, brain and nervous system function, producing antioxidants that ward off diseases, and even aiding in the proper functioning of enzymes and hormones throughout the body. Regrettably, as women age they produce less of it which puts them at an even higher risk for deficiency. Some of the health issues that can indicate a deficiency are: insomnia, heart issues, asthma, high blood pressure, poor digestion, constipation, diabetes, osteoporosis, depression, muscle cramps, migraines, and low energy levels.
Omega 3 fatty acids are chock full of health benefits. However, the human body does not produce them naturally. Some of the benefits that come from taking a daily supplement of Omega 3 are great heart health. It also promotes proper gut, joint, and skin health. Omega 3 has also been shown to encourage heightened memory and regulate a healthy blood pressure level. It can also promote healthy cholesterol levels and even encourage new hair growth. Omega 3 is a long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid found in marine animals and in some plant oils. It has been proven to be essential to our health and our ability to function properly.
Zinc is thought to be one of the most effective minerals for your immune system. A study found that zinc supplements reduced the duration and severity of flu symptoms more than that of vitamin C. Zinc has been shown to help treat leaky gut by repairing the walls of digestive lining. Deficiency in Zinc is characterized by poor fertility, slow wound healing, damage to kidneys and liver, poor senses, and brittle hair. Males require more zinc than women. Zinc is not always easily absorbed. Phytates, which are compounds found in plants, reduce Zinc’s bioavailability and potency of its health benefits.
Vitamin C is one of the primary ingredients for immune system supplements. It is used to promote the proteins, cells, and enzymes used for fighting off an infection. Vitamin C is needed for energy production. It helps in the conversion of amino acid lysine to carnitine. Which supplies a secondary source of energy to the cells mitochondria. Some of the symptoms of Vitamin C deficiency include plugging of hair follicles, lethargy, rapid breathing, fluid retention, bleeding gums, and irritable mood. Vitamin C is extremely water soluble, this is because it contains 4 hydroxyl groups. Thus it is impossible to overdose on this vitamin, unlike its fat soluble siblings.
Folic acid is actually a B vitamin, however, it is almost never referred to as Vitamin B9. Deficiency of Folic Acid causes shortness of breath, pale skin/eyes/gums, palpitations, stomach ulcers, nerve damage, and depression. Folic Acid deficiency is often mistaken for Iron or Vitamin B12 deficiency. These three nutrients have a complicated synergistic relationship that must always be kept in balance. Having an adequate intake of Folic acid has been linked to a predicted 4% decrease in the risk of cardiovascular disease. This has been linked to the reduction in homocysteine levels.
Probiotics are away of stacking the deck in your digestive favor. They can help relieve stomach sensitivity. By providing a more complete digestion of food it creates more bioavailability, which leads to whole body benefits. Probiotics help with the development of healthy microbiome within your gut microenvironment. This promotes a relaxed sensation of health as opposed to misdiagnosing your lethargy and supplementing with jitter inducing caffeine. Some of the benefits that come from the addition of probiotics include aiding in healthy cholesterol, remove depression and anxiety, strengthen the immune system, relieves irritable bowel syndrome, reduce and remove stomach ulcers, reduce risk of diabetes, removes excess belly fat, and aids in the management of diverticular disease.
Detoxing Sweet Potato Soup
Gluten-free Vegan Serves 4-6
- 2 Large Carrots
- 4 Garlic Cloves
- ¼ Cup Ginger
- 1 Lime Juiced
- 4 Large Shallots
- 1 Large Sweet Potato Peeled & Diced
- 6 Tbsp Walnut Butter
- 1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
- 1 ⅓ Tbsp Raw Coconut Oil
- 1 ¾ Cup Whole Fat Coconut Milk
- 4 Cups Vegetable Stock
- ½ tsp Black Pepper
- ½ tsp Cayenne Pepper
- 1 Tbsp Turmeric
- 1 tsp Sea Salt
- ½ Cup Pumpkin Seeds
In large pot heat 1 Tbsp Coconut oil. Once melted add shallots, garlic, and ginger, until golden 3-4 minutes. Add sweet potato, carrots, turmeric, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Stir for about 1 minute. Add stock and bring to boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Use wand blender to break down soup. Blend in nut butter until smooth. Add coconut milk and lime juice, mix well. Turn heat back on and heat soup back up. In a frying pan saute pumpkin seeds in remaining coconut oil cook until golden. Add soy sauce and evenly coat. Let soy sauce render down and top soup with seasoned pumpkin seeds.
Need a Hand?
The road to happiness is closer than you may think. Our health is something that we all have to deal with daily, and when we don’t feel our best, it shows. If you are tired of just making it through your day then you NEED to start investing in your health today! You are not alone on this journey. If you ever need any help I am always here to do just that. Even if it is something as small as just acting as a sounding board. Do you have any questions or concerns I can help you with? Feel free to contact me directly at [email protected] or you can even book a one-on-one call with me. Be sure to subscribe to gain access to tons of free goodies and check back daily for more great recipes and information!