Which foods help improve serotonin?
Serotonin, or 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT), is a monoamine neurotransmitter that carries signals along nerves, and is biochemically synthesized from the amino acid tryptophan. It is primarily found and produced in the gastrointestinal tract (GI) and the brain and is also present in blood platelets. Commonly regarded as a chemical that helps balance moods, this compound has been used as a treatment for depression. It is thought to boost many other aspects of our cognitive and bodily abilities including mood, social behavior, appetite, digestion, sleep, memory and sexual desire and function. Studies even show that a decrease in its levels is directly linked to anxiety and depressive symptoms and that its abundance is also related to feeling good and living longer.
Sounds interesting? How can we enhance it?
Though there are supplements you can try to increase its levels, a more natural approach would be to incorporate food products that can do the job.
Unfortunately, there are very few plant or animal-based products which contain serotonin. There are those that are abundant in the amino acid tryptophan – the compound serotonin is derived from. It can be found in many foods that are high in protein, iron and vitamins B2 and B6.
are a food source that is rich in protein are also rich in tryptophan. According to recent research, the protein found in eggs can significantly boost blood plasma levels of tryptophan and increase production of serotonin. Do not skip on the yolks because they are extremely abundant in both compounds.
Besides being a popular snack, dark chocolate is also known to be a brain boosting substance. It helps increase serotonin levels in both the brain and the intestines, which are perfect as both are where the compound is produced and stored.
If you are not a fan of candy bars or are avoiding all the sugar they contain, a healthy alternative to try is cacao nibs. It has all the mood-boosting compounds found in its counterpart minus the sugar and is significantly less processed.
Nuts and Seeds:
You cannot go wrong when it comes to nuts and seeds, as any type are great sources of tryptophan.
Not only do they boost production of serotonin, studies show that eating a handful of these nutritious foods can also lower your risk of cancer, heart disease and respiratory problems. They are also abundant in fiber, vitamins and antioxidants, all vital to both brain and bodily health.
With salmon, or any cold-water fatty fish, you are basically hitting two birds with one stone.
Research shows that people who have low levels of serotonin also have low levels of DHA, an essential compound needed for our body to function properly and is one of the building blocks of the brain and other cellular membranes. Luckily, salmon and others of its kind are rich in both chemicals, and as a result, are able to raise and replenish serotonin amounts at the same time.
We hope this helps you understand how to use your diet to boost serotonin.