Mood is a very important aspect of our lives and personality. It can determine how we relate to others and how we are perceived and serotonin is at the heart of it. Here are the best foods that boost serotonin for better mood, sufficient sleep, and better gastrointestinal health. Include these foods in your diet to improve your health.
Serotonin is term refers to a chemical messenger that acts as a mood stabilizer. It helps in to boost healthy sleeping and mood. It is released by the pineal gland of the brain. It also helps in digestion regulation and body temperature. Health scientists say that there are specific foods that boost serotonin.
Serotonin affects both mood and behavior, the chemical is linked to long life and feeling good. Foods can increase the serotonin levels via amino acids tryptophan. Serotonin is a combination of amino acids and tryptophan. After it is synthesized from the food, tryptophan is transported to the brain cells where it is converted to serotonin.
Foods for serotonin do not contain serotonin directly but they contain tryptophan which serotonin is synthesized from. Eating tryptophan foods is the only natural way to increase serotonin levels.
Low levels of tryptophan can be evident in people suffering from mood disorders such as anxiety and depression.Low level of tryptophan in the body is followed by a drop-in brain serotonin levels. A proper diet that contains serotonin supplements is the only way to treat serotonin deficiency in the body.
Serotonin and mood
Serotonin has a positive effect on mood control. Low level of serotonin results in depression. Tryptophan efficiency may result in mood disorders, irritability, and aggressiveness.
Serotonin and cognition
Apart from mood, serotonin also has effects on other areas. Serotonin helps in preventing brain impairments. The brain has serotonin receptors that are involved in memory and learning.
Gastrointestinal regulation and serotonin
Most of the serotonin travels to the stomach and intestine walls, it controls the contraction of the digestive tract to push food through. Lack of serotonin balance can cause constipation and diarrhea.
Serotonin and sleep
Serotonin has an important role in controlling circadian rhythms. The levels of serotonin go low when asleep and high when awake. Therefore, sleep is not only about the comfort of your mattress and pillow.
Serotonin and diet
Foods do not contain serotonin, but they contain tryptophan, therefore, eating foods containing high tryptophan levels can boost serotonin levels. Tryptophan foods can be supplemented by foods containing iron, high protein, and vitamin B-6 and riboflavin to ensure efficiency of serotonin in the body. Foods for serotonin must, therefore, be foods that contain tryptophan.
Mixing carbs and high-tryptophan foods also boost serotonin levels. Carbs make the body to release high insulin, which absorbs amino acid while leaving tryptophan in the blood.
Tryptophan contained in the food competes with amino acids to be absorbed in the brain. Tryptophan found in foods has a little effect on serotonin levels as compared to tryptophan supplements. Tryptophan supplements contain purified tryptophan which has a high effect on serotonin levels.
Serotonin also has a role in other processes such as; breathing, heart rate regulation, blood clotting and libido. Any alteration on the level of serotonin may result in disrupted sleep.
The following are the best foods for serotonin:
1. Cheese- Cheese is a source of tryptophan. The most favorite is the cheese that combines eggs and milk with cheddar cheese. It also contains calcium which is good for bone strengthening and vitamin B-12 and protein. Vitamin B-12 helps in nerve system. Other dairy products such as milk, curd, and buttermilk are also a good source of serotonin.
2. Tofu- This is a soy product. It is rich in tryptophan and it is mostly preferred by vegetarians and vegans. It also very rich in vitamins and nutrients.
3. Turkey- It is a stuffed tryptophan. It is also another good source of tryptophan. Turkey is a relatively low saturated fat and cholesterol food. One can also substitute turkey with chicken. Chicken contains the same amount of serotonin as turkey.
4. Seeds and nuts- Almost all seeds and nuts contain tryptophan. Eating nuts and seeds lower respiratory problems and heart diseases. It is therefore advisable to a handful of nuts and seeds a day. Seeds that contain tryptophan include pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds. Nuts that contain serotonin include peanuts and cashew nuts.
5. Eggs- It contains high protein levels which boost blood plasma levels of tryptophan. The York is highly rich in tryptophan and tyrosine and other many nutrients which are beneficial to the health. The white part of the health also contain serotonin; however, excessive consumption of egg yolk is harmful to the heart health.
6. Pineapples- Pineapples contain bromelain which helps to reduce the side’s effects of chemotherapy and also helps to eradicate coughs. It also contains tryptophan that helps to boost serotonin in the brain.
7. Salmon- It is a good source of tryptophan, you can mix it with milk and eggs to produce smoked salmon frittata which very rich in tryptophan. Salmon is also rich in nutrients that help in lowering blood pressure and cholesterol.
8. Seafood- Seafood such as fish contains high levels of serotonin. Fatty fishes such as clams, crabs, tuna, and oysters are the most preferred. Fish oil is also a good supplement of serotonin. Seafood also has omega-3 and vitamins that are good for the health.
9. Beans- Beans such as kidney beans, black beans, and split beans contain serotonin. They also have high proteins and fiber.
10. Oats- Oats contain serotonin
11. Vegetables- Vegetables are easily available in the market. Vegetables such as; cabbage, garlic, carrots, potatoes, spinach, onions, green beans, and tomatoes contain high levels of serotonin.
12. Beverages- Beverages contain a small amount of serotonin but the level is enough for the body. However, beverages must be taken in small quantities because of it contains caffeine.
13. Popcorn- Popcorn helps to keep you happy and relaxed. It is one of the foods that contain serotonin.
14. Meat- Apart from protein, meat also contains serotonin. Beef, pork, and liver contain serotonin and can help to correct serotonin deficiency in the body.
Foods are not enough to boost the levels of serotonin in the body. There are also other alternatives that one can use to boost serotonin in the body. These alternatives include;
1. Exercise- Regular exercise helps to control depression and stress.
2. Sunshine- Being exposed to bright light help to boost serotonin in the body. It also helps to control seasonal depression. It will help one get a better sleep and boost mood.
3. Positivity- It is good to face day to day activities with a positive outlook. Positivity helps boost serotonin levels. Being positive in life is very important.
4. Gut bacteria- high fiber diet helps in healthy bacteria gut. Gut bacteria play a significant role in boosting serotonin levels.
It is also important to note the following:
a. Avoid consuming excess serotonin because it can be dangerous when in excess.
b. Excess serotonin can result in a risk of heart attack, vascular diseases, and weakening of the bones
c. Low levels of serotonin can also lead to loss of appetite, anemia, depression and lower immune system.
d. Serotonin symptoms include; sweating, nausea, headache, unconsciousness, irregular heartbeat and high fever.
To solve serotonin deficiency in the body, you should consider eating foods that boost serotonin. You should aim for low-protein and high-carbohydrate foods.