Foods to Help Boost Serotonin Levels
Facts about Serotonin
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter present in the brain. Serotonin is responsible for controlling anger, aggression, mood, sleep, body temperature, appetite and metabolism. Depression causes our serotonin levels to go down. There are some depression drugs out there that are designed to raise serotonin levels.
There are other ways to increase the amount of serotonin present in the brain besides drugs. In fact, there are certain foods that can raise serotonin levels. If these foods are eaten we can actually improve our mood and outlook safely and naturally.
Foods That Boost Serotonin Levels
The food itself does not contain serotonin. Certain foods do contain substances that will aid our bodies in producing more serotonin. One of the most important building blocks of serotonin is tryptophan. Tryptophan is an amino acid that it is found in many foods including, poultry, chocolate, milk, spinach, eggs, crab, shrimp, pork, tofu and nuts.
It is equally important, though, to eat something that is high in carbohydrates with the food that contains tryptophan. These carbohydrates are required to help tryptophan move across the brain.
Foods containing Omega-3 fatty acids, especially DHA, also help to improve moods. DHA improves the synthesis and function of serotonin in the brain. Tryptophan has an immediate effect where as foods with DHA does not have. Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna and mackerel contain DHA. If you don't like fish, there are other products that are fortified with DHA. The label will identify whether or not it is fortified with DHA. For the best results eat food with DHA at least three times a week.
Protein Can Block the Effects of Serotonin
Watch out for foods with high levels of protein. Protein can actually block the effects of serotonin. Let's use turkey as an example. Turkey contains tryptophan, but it also contains a lot of protein, so it may do little to improve mood. To make a long story short, when trying to boost serotonin levels avoid eating other foods that contain high amounts of protein. All foods containing tryptophan contain protein. If the food contains small amounts of protein it won't hurt the effects of the serotonin.
It is not healthy to go on a binge when we're depressed. By eating certain foods in moderation this can help us beat the blues. The effects are similar to those of prescription depression drugs. This will also save on the expense and side effects of prescription medication. The next time you are down in the dumps go ahead and grab a snack that contains tryptophan and carbohydrates.