Did you know there is a link between your mood and the foods you eat? Almost everyone has experienced the effect food has on their mood. Think Thanksgiving. Most people would like nothing more than to take a nap after the scrumptious meal. Researchers call this the food-mood connection. To better understand this, let’s take a look at serotonin.
Serotonin and Its Effects
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that relays signals from one part of the brain to another. Serotonin affects a number of function in the body, including the endocrine system, the muscles and the cardiovascular system. Additionally, serotonin affects sexual desire, appetite, memory, temperature regulation, sleep and mood. Serotonin is synthesized in the body from an amino acid called tryptophan. Researchers believe that eating foods rich in tryptophan may help boost your serotonin levels, which in turn can improve your mood and behavior. However, there is more to the food-mood connection than simply eating tryptophan-rich foods. It would be advisable to consult a certified nutritionist that helps with mood disorders.
Need a good boost for your moods? Consider eating foods rich in tryptophan for a serotonin boost!TWEET IT
Foods to Help Improve Your Mood
High protein foods that contain vitamin B6, riboflavin and iron generally contain large amounts of tryptophan. Unfortunately, eating foods rich in tryptophan alone may not have an effect on the mood because the tryptophan must compete with other amino acids. In order to help the body better absorb tryptophan, the body needs carbohydrates. Carbohydrates help the body to release insulin, which improves amino acid absorption in the body. By mixing tryptophan-rich foods with carbs, you may be able to boost your serotonin levels naturally. Let’s take a look at some foods that contain tryptophan and how you can combine these foods with carbohydrates to improve your serotonin levels.
Turkey is probably the most well-known tryptophan-rich food. Many people only enjoy turkey at the holidays; however, if you suffer from anxiety or depression, you may want to include it in your diet more often. You are no longer stuck with roasting a turkey breast or even a whole turkey. There are a variety of turkey products available, including ground turkey and turkey cutlets. It should be noted that pre-packaged turkey sandwich meat should be avoided as it is laden with salt and preservatives. Turkey can easily be paired with carbohydrates to help improve tryptophan absorption. These carbohydrates include sweet potatoes, stuffing, rice, and more.
Eggs have gotten a bad rap over the years; however, they offer a number of benefits and should not be overlooked. Eggs are the most complete protein source. According to recent research, eggs can increase tryptophan in the blood plasma. Don’t single out eggs for only breakfast because there are many wonderful dinner recipes that can be enjoyed, such as a frittata. Finally, you may be tempted to throw out the egg yolks; however, the yolks are rich in tryptophan.
Did you know that a few slices of pineapples can instantly improve your mood? This delicious fruit contains bromelain. Bromelain is a protein that offers a number of benefits, including cough suppression, the reduction of chemotherapy side effects and mood improvement. For a one-two punch on your mood, try combining pineapple with chicken for a delicious and nutritious dinner.
Feeling down in the dumps? Eating a few slices of pineapple can be an instant feel-good boost!TWEET IT
Salmon is one of the top choices when it comes to mood-boosting foods. This delicious fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and tryptophan. Try making a smoked salmon frittata that is filled with tryptophan-rich foods, including salmon, eggs, milk, and cheese. To help ensure your body absorbs the tryptophan, pair it with blueberry trifle for dessert.
Nuts and seeds are the perfect snacks to enjoy. A handful of nuts can is rich in fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins. Nuts also contain tryptophan and can decrease your risk for a variety of health conditions, including cardiovascular disease, respiratory illness and cancer. These delicious snack foods do more than improve your mood, they can save your life!
Have you ever wondered why macaroni and cheese is a comfort food? Cheese and milk both are great sources of tryptophan, combine this with the carbohydrates found in the macaroni noodles and you have the perfect mood boosting meal. If macaroni and cheese are not your forte, enjoy a few slices of cheddar cheese or a glass of milk to boost your tryptophan levels.
It’s no wonder that Mac ‘n Cheese is a comfort food. Cheese and milk are both rich in seratonin-boosting tryptophan!TWEET IT
Bananas are a great go-to snack for those battling depression and anxiety. Bananas contain high levels of tryptophan and carbohydrates, making it the perfect mood boosting snack. Additionally, bananas are filled with nutrients including potassium, vitamin B6 and riboflavin. You can further enhance tryptophan levels by enjoying a peanut butter and banana sandwich. This gives you two sources of tryptophan and a source of carbs to ensure you maximize the tryptophan levels in your body.
Put the food-mood connection to work for you. If you are feeling blue, grab one of the seven mood boosting foods listed above. They are filled with tryptophan, which can help naturally boost the serotonin levels in your body. Enjoy a carbohydrate with your tryptophan-rich meal or snack to increase insulin levels in the body. Insulin helps you better absorb the amino acids in the food, resulting in an improved mood.
What’s your go to good mood food?