Ragini (19-years-old) is a young, energetic, and vivacious management student. Ragini is very active and she used to participate in all types of social and cultural activities of her college. But over the past few days, Ragini was stressed and depressed and also, suffering from sleep disorders. Ragini stopped going outside completely and almost locked herself in her room. Ragini’s mother told her instead of taking junk foods, she should incorporate some serotonin foods into her diet regime.
These serotonin-rich foods will not only boost up her mood but also, she will feel more energetic and animated. Ragini has started eating foods that increase serotonin to stay positive and improve the overall quality of her life.
What is Serotonin?
Serotonin is a chemical commonly found in the brain, blood, intestines, and connective tissues of the body. It regulates blood vessels to contract and plays an imperative role in brain function. Serotonin is important for overall health and wellbeing. People who have high levels of serotonin are always positive and energetic.
Several medical studies have also proved that low serotonin levels are also responsible for mood disorders. Serotonin also improves your sleeping problems.
Symptoms of low serotonin levels are:
- Mental health issues like depression
- Unexplained irritability
- Panic attacks
- Memory problems
- Low mood
8 Best foods that can boost your Serotonin level in the brain
Here are the 8 best foods that boost your serotonin as mentioned below:-
Salmon is a popular oily fish that contains tryptophan which produces serotonin. Salmon is also a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids that are important for the skin, heart, and bones. Salmon contains Vitamin D that is essential in making your bones and teeth strong. Vitamin D also makes your muscles stout and healthy. Eating two portions of oily fish per week will certainly improve tryptophan for most people.
Eggs contain adequate protein and thus, they are the favorite staple of athletes and bodybuilders. One research was conducted in 2015 and according to it; eggs can strikingly uplift your blood plasma levels of tryptophan. Egg yolks also contain tryptophan and other essential nutrients like
- Omega-3 fatty acids
All these nutrients are important for your overall health. But you should be careful while making a recipe with eggs. Frying an egg produces a lot of fats, so this is not a healthy choice. Boiling or poaching an egg does not produce any additional fat. For a healthy meal, you can make an omelet and eat it with your salads.
Poultry items like turkey, chicken, goose, etc. are rich in tryptophan and good sources of protein. Lean poultry like a chicken breast is rich in protein and low in fat. Tryptophan in turkey and chicken will uplift your mood and will give you good feelings throughout the day.
- Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds contain high amounts of plant-based proteins, healthy fats, and fiber. These food items possess a rich source of tryptophan. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that uplifts your mood by producing serotonin. Food items like almonds, cashews, peanuts, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, etc. are the perfect choices for you. Moreover, nuts and seeds are key ingredients of the Mediterranean diet that may support a healthy brain.
Several medical studies have also proved that there is a correlation between consuming nuts and a lower likelihood of suffering from depression. A health study was conducted on 15,980 participants for 10 years. It was found that participants who consumed moderate nuts led to a 23% decreased risk of depression.
Brazilian nuts, almonds, and pine nuts are rich in zinc & selenium. You must include these food items into your diet as their deficiencies may increase the rate of depression.
- Milk and Cheese
Milk is an excellent source of calcium. Calcium strengthens your bones and teeth. Choose low-fat milk as it is more beneficial than full-fat milk, particularly for people who are trying to lose weight.
Cheese is another good resource for tryptophan. You can take this yummy food item along with eggs and milk which are also good sources of tryptophan.
- Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate contains many mood-boosting compounds. Moreover, it releases chemicals like caffeine and theobromine that improve your mood. These components have many similarities with cannabinoids that uplift your mood.
People prefer to eat dark chocolate as it gives happiness and relaxation. Dark chocolate is certainly one of the most applauded foods in the world. Since chocolate has a hedonic rating, hence it may affect your mood positively.
Milk chocolate consists of sugars and fats, so try to avoid it. You should choose dark chocolates as they are flooded with flavonoids and contain a lower amount of added sugar.
Bananas are superfoods that uplift your mood and give you an energy boost. Bananas contain high levels of potassium and B6. Thus, eating bananas will minimize your blood pressure, manage stress, and will also help you to overcome your depression. Vitamin B6 is important for the production of feel-good neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin.
When you consume bananas along with fiber, sugar is released gradually into your bloodstream. This minimizes your blood sugar level and improves your mood.
Dark leafy vegetables like spinach are a good source of tryptophan. Spinach contains a high amount of iron. Iron makes healthy red blood cells of your body. Iron deficiency may lead to anemia, low energy, or breathing problems.
Apart from the above-mentioned 8 foods, some other forms of serotonin foods are:
- Soy products
- Fermented foods
The Bottom Line
Several medical studies have proved that diet therapy will improve your serotonin level and also, reduce symptoms like depression, anxiety, mental disorder, etc. Moreover, certain foods will elevate your mood and improve your overall well-being. These foods contain anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, and tryptophan that maintain GABA levels (a neurotransmitter responsible for emotional reactions).