Scrolling for a serotonin fix isn’t going to cut it. Science affirms that serotonin can be found in what you eat. Here are 6 foods (with recipes!) to boost your serotonin levels, backed by science.
Since 2016, the search trends of the term “serotonin” have shown an upward trend in the United States. Of course, I could sit here all day and speculated a plethora of reasons as to why that is. More people are aware of their mental health and doing something about it. More people went on antidepressants during 2015-2018.
What is serotonin and why should anyone care?
To put it simply: serotonin is a neurotransmitter that carries signals to the brain. Those signals regulate and affect mood, happiness, and well-being. It’s alleged that it also may regulate hunger. It can also improve sleeping patterns and your circadian rhythm.
Symptoms of low levels of serotonin are stress, panic attacks, irritability, and depression. I am not a doctor and this is not medical advice. These are simply tools I’ve found in my research that have helped me lead a life that feels better.
The research I’ve made all seems to point to consuming foods with more Tryptophan. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that is alleged to boost levels of serotonin when ingested. The brain turns Tryptophan into Serotonin and good mood prevails. Of course, this is a massive oversimplification of how the brain works.
6 Foods To Boost Serotonin
1. Anything Oats!
It is said that oats are great for getting a good nights sleep! That’s because oats are rich in Tryptophan.
Oat rich recipes:
According to a study published in 2009 by the Neurobehavioral Research Laboratory and Clinic, Department of Psychiatry, of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, semi-sweet chocolate can contain up to 18 milligrams of tryptophan per ounce.
Chocolate rich recipes:
3. Anything Tofu, anything Soy
Soy products are rich in tryptophan. In 100 grams of tofu there can be found around 0.15 grams of tryptophan. This one made me really understand why tofu makes me so happy.
Tofu + soy rich recipes:
Eggs have so many nutrients that are so good for the body such as biotin (hair! nails! skin!) and omega-3 fatty acids (happy heart!!). According to a research paper published in 2015, it also is rich in tryptophan.
Egg rich recipes:
Chickpeas not only release serotonin in the brain but also release dopamine. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter that signals the feeling of pleasure to the brain. Which makes sense because I’ve never been sad eating hummus.
Not only is salmon rich in vitamin B (promotes energy levels, brain function, and cell metabolism) but it’s also rich in Omega-3’s and fatty acids (cardiovascular system yay!!). Both are essential nutrients for the production of serotonin and dopamine.
Salmon rich recipes:
- Gravlax (how to cure your own salmon)
- Easy marinated salmon
- Salmon Glazed with Miso, Wrapped in Swiss Chard
- Nori Wrap
- Salmon salad
- Low & slow-roasted salmon
There are many more, however, I think these to be a solid group of 6 that can be made into delicious dishes!