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By Mark Davis

7 Foods That Boost Your Serotonin Levels

Text image with gut & brain connection about foods that boost your serotonin levels

Working out, spending time outside, and cuddling with a pet all have scientific proof that they can boost your mood. It turns out that what you eat also impacts your mood. Some foods, such as sugary or high-fat, have been related to depression, anxiety, and sleep issues. On the other hand, other foods can help increase your serotonin levels, the "happy hormone." Those foods are what we want to discuss in this post. And while no food can be a cure for all your problems, these foods can at least increase your happiness and help treat depression. However, always consult a doctor if you believe you suffer from depression. But let us see the 7 foods that boost your serotonin levels and how serotonin works. 

What is serotonin?

Serotonin is a brain neurotransmitter that influences brain activity. It is also responsible for connecting the brain with the rest of your body and regulating heart function, bowel movement, or bladder control. In addition, serotonin is also a hormone that plays a role in mental wellness. A low serotonin level is frequently associated with depression, a loss of appetite, and difficulty focusing. Eating protein-rich meals containing the amino acid tryptophan is an excellent way to increase serotonin levels. Tryptophan can help your body produce more serotonin, putting you in a good mood. And fortunately enough, there are plenty of foods that contain tryptophan. Continue reading to see which foods you should add to your diet to improve your mood.

Text image showing the connection between the brain and gut.

Caption: Your mental health is closely related to your digestive system's health.

1. Nuts and seeds

When it comes to nuts and seeds, you can choose whatever you like. Almost all of them contain tryptophan and are a good source of protein for vegans and vegetarians. In addition, they contain monosaturated fats, minerals, and vitamins that are essential for normal body functioning. Also, a handful of nuts or seeds a day can keep you full for longer and reduce the mortality chance of cancer, heart disease, or respiratory issues. You can eat seeds and nuts as a snack or mix them in with other foods. For example, sprinkle seeds on salads or yogurt or eat bread with seeds. You can also put nuts in your yogurt or cereal, make them into butter, or eat them in healthy bars

2. Fatty fish

Fatty fish such as salmon, anchovies, and tuna are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D, which are highly important for your health. They help you have strong bones, healthy skin, strong muscles, and good eyesight. In addition, omega-3 balances your cholesterol levels and keeps your blood pressure under control. Simultaneously, the mix of fatty acids and vitamin D aids your body's production of serotonin. Vitamin D generates serotonin, and fish oils help serotonin work better. So, if you want to stay healthy and boost your serotonin levels, eat foods like fatty fish twice a week. Experts advise this, especially if you are practicing a sport or working out regularly. Foods that personal trainers recommend are fatty fish high in protein, such as salmon, to boost muscle growth and repair.

3. Dark chocolate

Chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, has been shown to aid in the production of serotonin. So, if you feel happy after eating a piece of chocolate, you are not imagining it. The cacao in the chocolate is also rich in magnesium, which helps with brain function and mood enhancement. However, when you choose to eat chocolate to improve your mood, ensure to count your calories. Although chocolate is delicious and has numerous health advantages, it can also contribute to weight gain. As a result, eat chocolate in moderation and try to find the darkest chocolate you can. It has the lowest amounts of sugar and the most cocoa mass. Or, eat your chocolate as a delicious low-sugar protein bar. It's as healthy as it is tasty. 

4. Yogurt and other fermented foods

Fermented foods, like yogurt, can improve your mood and keep your gut healthy. The probiotics in these foods, such as lactobacillus, boost serotonin levels by regulating your flora. In reality, many studies proved a link between our gut and mood. For example, people with depression and anxiety felt better after eating probiotic foods regularly. Additionally, dairy products are rich in calcium and vitamins A, D, and E, which are essential for your well-being. At the same time, fermented foods like sauerkraut or kimchi also contain probiotics and prebiotics that will keep your digestive system healthy. They also keep your blood sugar under control and help your metabolism work normally. Not to mention that the flavonoids in them help prevent inflammation and oxidative stress, both of which can harm the brain.

Text image stating that 90% of serotonin is produced in the gut.

Caption: The probiotics in fermented foods can boost your serotonin levels and keep your gut balanced.

5. Blueberries

Blueberries have more antioxidants than any other common fruit or vegetable, offering many brain-boosting advantages. Blueberries provide flavonoids, which regulate mood, enhance memory, and protect the brain from aging. Also, the anti-inflammatory compounds found in blueberries can help treat PTSD and other mental health issues. As a result, blueberries are not just delicious but also more helpful than any other berry. They are one of the superfoods that boost your serotonin levels and put you in a happy mood. You can eat them as a snack or add them to your yogurt for an even better result. 

6. Spinach and leafy greens

Lots of people have problems with magnesium intake. Unfortunately, they don't know how beneficial magnesium is and how easy it is to obtain it. For instance, leafy greens, like spinach, are rich in magnesium and not only. Spinach also contains iron, vitamin B, and folate, which are related to brain health. Additionally, spinach helps the brain produce dopamine, the feel-good hormone. So next time you need a mood boost, don't avoid leafy greens. You can use them in smoothies, omelets, salads, or combine them with other foods that boost your serotonin levels. Salmon and spinach, for example, make a great combination.

Text image stating that 50% of dopamine is made in the gut.

Caption: Dopamine, or the feel-good hormone, is also made in the gut.

7. Eggs

If you want a good source of protein, vitamin A, B12, selenium, biotin, omega-3, choline, and other nutrients, make sure to eat eggs. Eggs not only include macro and micronutrients that are beneficial to your health, but they also increase your tryptophan levels. As a result, you will have a healthy brain in a healthy body. However, for the best results, we recommend eating free-range chicken eggs. You can boil, fry them, or make omelets and scrambled eggs. Just make sure to include them in your diet, and you will be happy and healthy. 

Final words on foods that boost your serotonin levels

These foods that boost your serotonin levels can make a big difference in your life. If you choose to eat them regularly, you will be able to improve your mood and health. So, eat fatty fish, yogurt, leafy vegetables, and eggs whenever possible. Add some healthy snacks between your meals, such as nuts and blueberries, and you will feel more positive and happy.