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10 ways to boost your endorphins

Tue, 16 Jun 2015

Endorphins, often called “happy hormones”, are biochemical substances made by the body that reduce pain and bring about a feeling of euphoria and well-being.Are you looking for a way to boost your happiness that’s not just a short-term fix?  The answer could lie in modifying your eating and exercise habits as well as your lifestyle.

 

Exercise daily

According to GP Dr Anita Sturnham, “not only it is great for keeping our hearts strong and our weight healthy, but studies have shown that when we do some form of exercise we produce increased levels of endorphins and serotonin, hormones which improve our mood and our energy level.”

Aim to exercise 3-4 times a week for at least 30 at a time.  You don’t have to work out at a gym if you don’t like it, you can do whatever you enjoy: walking, gardening, dancing.  Besides, other activities such as walking or cycling  from home to work count as exercise.

Meditate

“The process of meditation stimulates the release of endorphins, which turn off stress hormones and lower cortisol levels associated with the fight stress response,” says psychologist Elaine Slater. “Meditation triggers the hypothalamus; stimulating the pituitary gland to release endorphins, promoting relaxation, self-healing and overall wellbeing.”

 

 

 

Eat your nuts

  Nuts such as almonds, walnuts, pecans, Brazil nuts, etc.  are rich in magnesium.  “Magnesium is  a very important mineral  because it is used in hundred of enzyme reactions in our body” explains Teerawong Kasiolarn, ND, MSAc, a naturopathic doctor .

 

Get outdoors

“Lack of daylight can reduce our vitamin D levels; a deficiency of this vitamin is thought to have an impact on our mood,” says Dr Sturnham.  “Vitamin D is produced by the body in response to skin being exposed to sunlight.  It also occurs naturally in a few foods , such as fish and egg yolks.

 

Enjoy the power of vitamin B

“Vitamin B6 is an essential nutrient for the central nervous system,” says Dr Sturnham. “Vitamin B6 is needed in the body for the production of certain neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin and  norepinephrine.”

 

Be aware of your thoughts

“You are what you think, life stems from your thoughts”, explains Elaine Slater. “Research shows that up to 80 per cent of the thoughts we produce in a day are negative, and you can’t live a positive life with a negative mind.  Affirmations are proven methods of self-improvement, yet they make you consciously aware of your thoughts. By repeating them, you change neural pathways and synapses in your brain to open up a new state of positive thinking.”

 

Have an avocado

Avocados also contain serotonin and dopamine, as well as monounsaturated fats and potassium.

 

Drink hot cacao

A new research , published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, looked at the effects of cocoa polyphenols on mood. Healthy participants were given a dark chocolate drink to consume for 30 days which contained 500 mg, 250 mg or 0 mg of polyphenols. After 30 days the participants receiving the high-polyphenol cocoa drink had significantly increased self-rated calmness and contentedness compared to the participants who consumed 0mg of polyphenols. The researchers concluded that cocoa polyphenols may improve mood in health individuals, but that further research is needed to back up the findings.

 

Add bananas to your basket     

According to Eve Kalinik, bananas contain I-tryptophan, the precursor to serotonin, as well as B6 that futher supports this conversion.

 

Breathe

“Deep controlled breathing, such as conscious diaphragmatic breathing instantly turns on the branch of the automatic nervous system responsible for restorative rest, repair and recovery,” explains Elaine Slater.

 

Source: Get the Gloss 

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