3 Happiness Hacks to Help You Kick Sugar Cravings
Nobody needs to tell you that sugar is a short-term happiness booster. Unfortunately, it’s also a long-term creator of unhappiness, and can lead to endless cycles of sugar cravings and binges that you’d rather avoid. If that sounds like you, we’ve got a better solution. See, sugar fakes your brain into thinking it’s happy while you’re eating, only to let you down later.
If you instead boost your mood with non-food means, you’ll be less reliant on sugar to moderate your emotions, less likely to fall prey to cravings, and more likely to achieve the happy, healthy state of mind you’ve always dreamed of.
So if you’re ready to beat back those cravings, read on.
How Does Sugar Increase Serotonin Levels
This is a complex topic, beyond the scope of this article. Suffice it to say that serotonin is made from tryptophan, which must be present in the brain in sufficient quantities in order to make it. Our bodies rely on insulin in order to move tryptophan to the brain. Another of insulin’s duties is to move glucose molecules (the building blocks of sugar) into our cells, which is why eating sugar causes insulin to be released into the bloodstream.
Long story short: eating sugar causes insulin release, which then makes serotonin production more possible. In plainer terms, sugar makes us happy, y’all! This is more of a problem for some people than others, and varies according to lifestyle choices and, for women, time of month. But for the most part, we all feel happier while we’re eating and directly after eating sugar.
A Better Way to Influence Serotonin
This happiness doesn’t last, of course. Once insulin does it’s job and removes sugar from our bloodstream, we crash. Insulin decreases, meaning our brains stop artificially producing serotonin due to the heightened presence of glucose in our bloodstream. We’re left as we were before, only a little grouchier and a lot more likely to eat sugar again. Bummer. Instead, you can boost your serotonin levels with other, better moves such as:
- Getting the right nutrients: B vitamins, zinc and vitamin C all help you moderate your seratonin, so eat foods high in these nutrients. Find B vitamins and zinc in lean meat, and vitamin C in citrus and other fruits.
- Expose yourself to bright light: Ideally you can get outside a few times a day and enjoy natural light. A tanning bed can work too, but be careful to protect your skin.
- Exercise: Vigorous exercise has been shown to boost levels of seratonin in the brain, so try hiking, running, jogging or circuit training, and make sure you get a good sweat going.