What is serotonin?
Serotonin is a chemical in the brain that’s believed to act as a mood stabilizer. It helps to produce a healthy sleeping pattern as well as improve your mood. Modern research suggests that serotonin levels can influence mood and behavior, and the chemical is commonly linked to feeling better and living longer.
There are two great natural ways to work on increasing your serotonin levels, diet, and exercise! You can try eating foods that contain tryptophan (Tryptophan is an essential amino acid used to make proteins.) It is known that low levels of tryptophan are seen in those with mood disorders such as depression and anxiety.
Here are 5 foods that might help increase serotonin levels.
Eggs are naturally rich in tryptophan (particularly the yolks) along with omega 3 fatty acids and other nutrients that are major contributors to the health benefits and antioxidant properties.
Some great, healthy ways to include eggs in your diet are boiling or poaching them as frying adds a lot of fat, which makes it a less healthful option.
Dark green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, are also a good source of tryptophan. Spinach is also a good source of iron. Iron helps the body to make healthy red blood cells. A lack of iron in the diet can lead to anaemia and low energy.
- Nuts and seeds
Take your pick! All nuts and seeds contain tryptophan. Studies also show that eating a handful of nuts a day may lower your mortality risk for cancer, heart disease, and respiratory problems. Nuts and seeds are also good sources of fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants.
This oily fish is also a source of omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids help to support bone health, skin, and eye function. Salmon is also a source of vitamin D, which is essential for strong bones, teeth, and muscles. Eating two portions of oily fish per week should provide enough tryptophan for most people.
Added health benefits include balancing cholesterol, lowering blood pressure and has anti-inflammatory properties.
Fruits are among the types of food that have the highest serotonin content. According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Using a technique called a radioenzymatic assay, researchers reported that plantains, pineapples, bananas, kiwi fruit and plums have high serotonin contents. For example, plantains contain on average 30 micrograms of serotonin per gram of the fruit. Pineapples contain 17 micrograms and bananas contain 15 micrograms of serotonin per gram of the fruit.
So next time you’re doing the weekly food shop, don’t forget to pick up some of these serotonin boosting foods!