Tuesday Tips for Parents - Serotonin

DOSE for Children

Today is the S – Serotonin
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Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays an important role in regulating mood – it is also known as the Happy Chemical. Low levels of Serotonin have been associated with Depression. It may also play a role in other disorders such as anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, phobias, and even epilepsy.

Serotonin has a popular image of the contributor to the feelings of well-being and happiness. It helps with cognition, reward, learning, and memory. All things parents want to increase with their children.

Tryptophan is an amino acid that we get from diet that is responsible for making Serotonin. This amino acid enters our body through our diet and is commonly found in nuts, cheeses, and red meat. As well as being a natural mood stabilizer, Serotonin also aids with sleeping, eating, and digesting, so it plays an extremely important role in our daily lives.

For parents, we want to make sure that our children keep a normal level of Serotonin to remain happy and in a state of wanting to learn and use memory to maximum capacity. How can we increase Serotonin levels without drugs!

Light – Bright light outdoors has been associated with Serotonin levels. Today’s world can be an outside light deficient society, so it is very important to ensure that our children receive outside play time. That may be why some of our parents said – outside to play and I’ll call you when it is time to come in. Maybe they did not know that bright light helped with Serotonin levels, but they probably realized it made happier children. Obviously we do want to make light as bright as possible when we are inside, but a good balance with the old fashioned outside light can make happier children.

Exercise – Several lines of research suggest exercise increases brain serotonin function in the human brain. Many of us have heard those who exercise say – I always feel better when I workout. The most consistent effect is seen when regular exercisers undertake aerobic exercise at a level with which they are familiar. Does this mean we have to be at the gym 7 days a week? No, any level of physical activity can help. Many children sport activities are a lot of physical exercise – Martial Arts, Dance, Baseball, Basketball, and so on. These activities can help with the Serotonin Level as well as give children an opportunity to learn social skills and create friendships.

Diet – since the amino acid tryptophan enters our bodies through our diet – Diet is very important to Serotonin Levels. Carbohydrates (in addition to foods listed above) can also help with brain serotonin levels. Because the simple carbohydrates such as potatoes and pastas can have some adverse health effects on sugar levels, complex carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes, apples, blueberries, carrots, and garbanzo beans are suggested. Food high in L-Tryptophan are also good choices – chicken, eggs, cheese, turkey, beef, salmon, and beans.

If we have a healthy balance of light, diet, and exercise – we can increase our own Serotonin levels as well as helping our children with this important balance.

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