Boost your Serotonin with These Foods

by Valerie Demetros

It’s never a bad thing to be in a good mood. If you’d like to boost your mood even a little, then look no further than your refrigerator for foods that can boost your serotonin levels.

Serotonin is a chemical in the brain that’s linked to better moods and is made by nerve cells that communicate with other cells in your body. Of course, it’s not the only chemical linked to mood regulation (dopamine, oxytocin and endorphins do also). And the best part is that you can boost serotonin naturally using food.

Basically, serotonin is made from the amino acid tryptophan, the same amino acid that makes you sleepy after eating turkey. Tryptophan supports the production of serotonin. Keeping this in mind, here are five foods high in tryptophan to include in your diet.

1. Cheese

Yes, cheese tastes good, but it also contains tryptophan. Cheddar has the highest amount, so it’s no wonder grilled cheese is a comfort food.

2. Eggs

Eggs contain tryptophan and also are high in the B vitamin choline and protein. Choline is directly linked to supporting brain health and mood, while protein gives you energy.

3. Tofu (and other soy products)

Soy products like tofu, edamame and soy nuts contain tryptophan and protein. One study followed postmenopausal women over the course of two years and concluded that eating tofu regularly was directly linked to a decline in depressive symptoms.

4. Fish, including tuna and salmon

Aside from being high in tryptophan and protein, fish contain omega-3 fatty acids that benefit the brain and support mood regulation. Fish also contain vitamin D, which is also linked to moods. Tuna, salmon and other fatty fish have the most tryptophan and omega-3s.

5. Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds are great plant-based serotonin foods. Most nuts and seeds have plenty of nutrients, but walnuts are especially high in omega-3s.

Be aware that some foods can have the opposite effect. Try to avoid the top three — sugary snacks, foods with high levels of trans fat and highly processed foods.

And if you want to continue the serotonin boosts, get outside and take a walk. Sunlight and exercise also can help improve your mood.