Serotonin is a naturally secreted substance that operates as a neurotransmitter to transport signals between nerve cells everywhere within your body. Often, people only associate its levels with positive changes in mood, however neurotransmitters play a vital role in the health of various other aspects of the body, eg. healthy digestion. In fact, surprisingly, studies suggest that it is predominantly found in your gut, not your brain! It is important for so many aspects of health, from sleep to blood clotting. Read on for Serotonin: 5 More Happy-Mood Foods!
Serotonin Regulates these 5 Things:
Sleep – Although controversial amongst researchers, the consensus is that serotonin (alongside dopamine) plays a role in how well you sleep. It plays an active role in producing melatonin, meaning too little or too much of it can affect these levels, leading to sleep disruptions.
Blood Clotting – Serotonin helps in the efficiency of clotting cuts and grazes. It encourages the small arteries around the area of the abrasion to narrow, meaning your cut can clot and the bleeding stops.
Mood – Serotonin is famous for its positive effect on moods. Many antidepressant medications have been adapted to try and enhance its production.
Digestion – Serotonin plays a role in sending a message to your brain that your stomach is full after a meal.
Bone Strength – High levels of this neurotransmitter are associated with lowering bone strength, indicating that too much of it can mean that you are more susceptible to bone breaks and fractures.
5 Foods that Enhance Serotonin Levels
Tofu – Tryptophan is famous for boosting serotonin levels and is found in a variety of foods, including tofu. This is a great way for people on a vegetarian or vegan diet to boost it.
Cheese – Being packed with tryptophan means that not only is it a great form of calcium but it can also lift your moods.
Pineapple – You’ve guessed it! Pineapple is rich in Tryptophan and has the bonus of containing bromelain, which is renowned for its anti-inflammatory properties.
Green Tea – Green tea is recommended as a tea to drink before bed as it contains theanine which is known for helping increase happy mood levels.
Overall, it is evident that serotonin plays a key role in our happiness. It is implemented into many antidepressants, sought out in foods, and it’s production in the body is being explored. Its incredible properties can be the deciding factor in the quality of your night’s sleep to how much strength you have in your bones. If you are ever feeling low, consider what food you are consuming.
What could you do to boost your mood? Try a tryptophan-rich meal of tofu and vegetables. Having trouble sleeping? Try a delicious green tea an hour before bed. Whilst none of these are a direct magical “pill” to happiness per se, over time you may feel better within yourself if you’re eating healthier and sleeping more regularly (and of course getting your 30 minutes of exercise in daily)!
Which foods trigger the right psycho-chemical happy-mood state for you? Let us know in the comments below, and join in the conversation on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram!
Blue Strawberry (2018) ‘Good Mood Food’ Available at: http://bluestrawberry-tabletalk.co.uk/good-mood-food-serotonin-ingredients/
Pure Recovery California (2020) ‘7 foods to boost serotonin for improving health and mood’ Available at: https://www.purerecoveryca.com/foods-to-boost-serotonin-mental-health-mood/
Block, B, D. (2020) Regulating body functions: Available at: https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-serotonin-425327
Roizman, T. (2018) ‘Green Tea’ Available at: https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/can-green-tea-boost-serotonin-3386.html