Serotonin is a substance that exists in the body and is used to transmit information from one nerve cell to the next. Most of the serotonin in the body is made in the gut. In the brain, it is serotonin’s job to keep moods stable and aid with memory. In fact, serotonin is most often known as the “feel good” substance that keeps mood up. But, those aren’t serotonin’s only jobs. It is also used for sleep, blood clotting, and bone health. When serotonin is low, it can lead to all sorts of problems for older adults. Helping them to improve the serotonin level in their body is an important part of good health. Below are 3 ways to help your aging relative to increase serotonin.
There are no foods that contain serotonin. However, there are several that include tryptophan, a kind of amino acid. Tryptophan is turned into serotonin in the brain. Tryptophan is mainly found in foods that contain high levels of protein, like turkey. Studies show that eating a small amount of carbohydrates along with foods that contain tryptophan is the best way to enable the brain to convert it. Some snack ideas for increasing serotonin include:
- A turkey sandwich made with whole wheat bread.
- Oatmeal with nuts.
- Plums or pineapples with crackers.
- Pretzel sticks with peanut butter and milk.
- Boiled egg and whole grain crackers.
#2: Exposure to Light
Serotonin levels are known to be linked to a condition called seasonal affective disorder (SAD), in which people experience depression at certain times of the year, typically in the winter when days are shorter. Studies show that spending some time in the sun each day can help to increase serotonin. The older adult can either spend 10 or 15 minutes each day sitting in the sun outside or in direct light coming through a window. Or, consider taking a walk outside each day to combine exercise with light exposure.
Speaking of exercise, it’s another way to increase serotonin. When a person exercises, the body produces tryptophan and reduces amino acids, making it easier for the tryptophan to reach the brain. To create this effect, your aging relative will need to get their heart beating faster. Some good ways to do that are:
- Walking briskly.
Senior care can help your older family member to work toward improving their serotonin levels, keeping both their mind and body healthier. Senior care providers can make healthy snacks that include foods high in tryptophan as well as a bit of carbohydrates. Senior care providers can also help the older adult to exercise, whether indoors or out. In addition, a senior care provider can make certain your loved one spends some time in the sun each day, whether by enjoying a cup of tea on the porch or going for a walk around the block.
If you or an aging loved-one is considering Senior Care in Bethesda, MD please contact the caring staff at Just Divine Home Care Agency today at (301) 219-1585.