Have you ever had a day where you seemingly can’t get motivated, or even happy for that matter, no matter how hard you try? You might want to try increasing serotonin. From Reda El of Shredded Physique, here are 10 foods that boost serotonin!
We all have off days and we all have days when we’re feeling down and sad, but for some people, those days can turn into weeks, and those weeks can turn into months, and those months can even turn into years. This in turn can lead to stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues that can make life extremely difficult for all parties involved. If this applies to you, or if you’re simply looking for new ways of enhancing your mood and putting you in a happier and more positive and productive frame of mind, then you may wish to consider consuming plenty of serotonin foods as part of your daily diet.
Serotonin is a powerful chemical neurotransmitter and hormone that is produced via the brain, and it is responsible for feelings of happiness, of relaxation, of confidence, and generally anything else that can be considered positive and beneficial. Serotonin helps us to relax, it helps us to sleep, it enhances mental focus, it promotes healthy cognitive function, and it generally makes us feel happier and more confident and content in life. Some people generally have lower serotonin levels than others, but as mentioned, the good news is that there are numerous serotonin foods currently available that can greatly enhance production of this powerful neurotransmitter.
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Here’s a look at 10 of the best foods for doing just that.
Organic eggs – Organic eggs are hugely beneficial for the human body for a number of reasons, including the fact that they are packed full of healthy proteins and amino acids. In fact, eggs are the only food source available that can provide a complete profile of essential and non-essential amino acids. A protein found in eggs, for example, can help to enhance blood plasma levels of a compound known as tryptophan, which has been proven to improve mood and enhance serotonin production. Many people avoid the yolks as they are rich in fats, but fear not, because the yolks contain healthy fats, and they are actually where much of the tryptophan and other amino acids such as tyrosine are located. Starting your day off with two or three whole eggs, cooked to your liking, is a great way to get off to a happy and productive start.
Flaxseeds – Flaxseeds, or flaxseed oil, is another great example of a dietary food source that is rich in serotonin-enhancing properties. This is because they too contain large quantities of tryptophan, as well as a number of essential omega 3 fatty acids. You see, more than 60% of the human brain is comprised of healthy fats, also known as structural fats, meaning that essential fatty acids are vital for the function and development of healthy brain nerve cells. Not only will flaxseeds enhance your mood, they will also help provide healthy fats, they will boost immunity, enhance metabolic function, and promote general health and well-being.
Buckwheat – Buckwheat is a starchy food item that is packed full of nutrients and natural goodness, especially B vitamins. The B vitamins have been found to increase energy levels, enhance the metabolism, and to elevate the mood and reduce feelings of stress and depression. What’s more, experts have revealed that vitamin B6 in particular, plays a crucial role in the overall synthesis of serotonin within the human brain. It just so happens that buckwheat is packed full of vitamin B6 in particular, which means that the brain will find it easier than ever to synthesize a great deal of serotonin, and other beneficial neurotransmitters.
Wild salmon and seafood – Whilst salmon and seafood in general are very healthy, wild salmon and wild seafood are simply much healthier, and it tastes much better in the process. Oily fish such as salmon and mackerel is packed with healthy fats, including EPA and DHA, both of which have been proven to provide a number of benefits to a person’s mental health and psychological well-being. Many serotonin foods are full of healthy fats, yet it is the seafood examples that are perhaps considered to be the most popular and beneficial. On top of that, the healthy fats also promote overall well-being. Plus the foods are rich in protein, which is beneficial for the muscles and cells, including those found in the brain.
Whey protein – Whey protein supplements are very popular, and they aren’t just beneficial or popular for bodybuilders and people trying to build muscle and bulk up either. Whey protein has been proven to help increase serotonin production levels, meaning that this protein supplement has the ability to put people into much better moods, and to assist with brain functioning, whilst assisting with protein synthesis in the process.
Turkey – Turkey, preferably organic, or failing that, free-range, is another protein source that is great for serotonin levels, due largely to the fact that it contains such large quantities of Tryptophan. This amino acid plays a key role in serotonin production. For best results, consume turkey with a carb source, as doing so will result in all amino acids in the bloodstream, other than tryptophan, being cleared out of the way. This leaves tryptophan alone, allowing it to cross the blood-brain barrier in a much more efficient and effective manner. During thanksgiving and Christmas dinner, people often report feeling tired, relaxed and sleepy, which is partly due to the fact that turkey contains so much tryptophan, allowing it to enhance serotonin levels.
Bananas – Bananas are not only great sources of potassium and slow-release carbohydrates, they are also surprisingly rich in Tryptophan. Ideally a banana per day, especially consumed post-workout, will help to enhance serotonin levels, and will subsequently improve your mood in the process.
Organic beef – Organic beef is packed full of protein, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals, and it is one of the best serotonin foods you could ever wish for. Organic beef contains healthy fats, and it too is rich in Tryptophan, which ensures that the brain is able to produce plenty of serotonin after being consumed. It is important to go with organic beef, preferably grass-fed, as this means that the meat is quality and won’t be full of chemicals and hormones. Too much red meat can be detrimental to your health, but a couple of steaks per week, and the odd serving of fresh jerky will certainly do you no harm at all, and will greatly help to enhance your mood.
Dark chocolate – People often seek comfort in the form of chocolate, and there is a very good reason for that. Chocolate really can improve your mood and can make you feel happy and relaxed, especially dark chocolate, because it enhances serotonin production within the brain. Cocoa is responsible for this, so a dark chocolate of at least 70% cocoa, is highly recommended. It is also rich in powerful antioxidants that strengthen the immune system and provide countless other health benefits in the process. Be wary of too much dark chocolate, as it does contain caffeine, fats, and sugars, which can lead to crashes and weight gain. With that being said, however, a few squares of dark chocolate after your meal a few times per week, will certainly do you no harm at all.
Sour cherries – The reason why sour cherries are considered so beneficial for increasing serotonin levels, is down to the fact that they contain melatonin, which is another hormone which is responsible for promoting a good night’s sleep. Our serotonin levels actually increase and replenish whilst we sleep, so by adding cherries packed full of melatonin, this in turn increases the quality of our sleep, helping the body to regenerate serotonin levels. You can eat the cherries as a snack, whole late at night, or you may wish to consider mixing them with fresh yoghurt. You also benefit from the added vitamins and minerals that they contain.