Serotonin plays a vital role in the brain’s biochemistry, playing a key part in encouraging a positive mood, self-confidence and a healthy sleep-cycle.
Given the unprecedented circumstances we now find ourselves in, it is more important than ever to take some time for self-care and adopt a more thoughtful approach to nutrition.
As an extensive selection of produce may not be readily available to everyone at the moment, our top ten serotonin-inducing food sources below cover a wide range of options to suit all tastes…
What is serotonin?
Linked to learning and memory, serotonin is an important hormone that stabilises mood, increases feelings of well-being, helps to manage pain tolerance and decreases anxiety and helps to combat depression.
How can we increase our serotonin levels?
In addition to sunlight and daily exercise, you can choose from many different food sources high in tryptophan – the amino acid that triggers serotonin production.
Top 10 serotonin inducing foods
1. Fish & seafood
Fatty fishes and seafood like shrimps, tuna, salmon, cod, crab, mackerel, sardines and even fish oil supplements are excellent options to increase serotonin levels.
2. Meat & meat free alternatives
High in protein, meat such as beef, pork, chicken, liver and (especially) turkey are all fantastic sources of the amino acid required for serotonin creation. As is tofu – made from soy, it provides all the goodness of soy vitamins.
3. Vegetables & fruit
Vegetables rich in tryptophan include spinach, broccoli, carrots, squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes, garlic, cabbage, asparagus, beets, onions, cauliflower and lettuce, as well as kelp, seaweed and spirulina. For fruit, try pineapples, bananas, kiwi, dates, avocados, tomatoes and cucumber. (Pictured above vegetarian dish, Salt and spice baked carrots, lentil dhal, salted coconut yoghurt and sweet potato bhaji.)
A simple, every day food with a multitude of culinary uses and nutrients, eggs (the whites in particular) are a great way to raise your body’s serotonin production.
5. Dairy products
Tryptophan can be found in dairy products such as milk, buttermilk, curd, yoghurt and cheese, in addition to soy milk (and even soy sauce). Cheddar was found to be the cheese with the highest content.
Complex carbohydrates such as oats, whole grain rice, wheat germ breads, bran, buckwheat and barley are recommended to raise serotonin levels.
7. Nuts & legumes
Peanuts (and peanut butter), cashews, almonds and walnuts tend to be high in omega-3 fatty acids which help with serotonin conversion. Beans, split peas and lentils are all full of protein and fibre whilst providing a high level of tryptophan.
Seeds are an incredibly rich source of tryptophan and are high in protein, zinc, iron, potassium, magnesium, calcium and B & E vitamins. Choose from pumpkin seeds, squash seeds, chia seeds watermelon seeds, pine nuts, sesame seeds (and tahini), flax seeds and sunflower seeds.
Popular beverages such as tea, coffee, cocoa, and even beer and wine all contain a small amount of serotonin-inducing nutrients.
Perfect for a treat, popcorn and dark chocolate are the perfect way to indulge whilst giving your body a serotonin boost!
Good mood food
With so many delicious options to choose from, we hope you will be able to keep your serotonin levels high and therefore benefit with feelings of wellness and positivity wherever possible.
Stay tuned, as we will be sharing a few recipes over the coming months that feature many of the ingredients listed above so that you can enjoy lots of good mood food!