Happy Food

Foods that increase the production of Serotonin

by Daisy Carolina Moreno

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that contributes to feelings of well-being and happiness. There are actually no foods that contain serotonin, but foods can contain tryptophan which is a precursor amino acid of serotonin. Therefore, consuming foods high in tryptophan encourages the production of serotonin.

To assist in the conversion of tryptophan to serotonin it is recommended to have a diet that contains vitamins C, B1, B6, B9, B12, calcium and zinc.

Foods that are high in tryptophan:

Legumes: red, white, yellow and green beans.
Seeds and nuts: sunflower, sesame, peanuts, pumpkin, walnuts, pistachios, almonds, hazelnuts and chia.
Cereals: oats, wheat, flaxseed, quinoa, brown rice, and corn.
Fruits: banana, plantain, plum, and pineapple.
Vegetables: spinach, asparagus, avocado and broccoli.
Dark chocolate and honey.

Serotonin is synthesized in the presence of oxygen so physical activity is also recommended. The flow of oxygen through the body also stimulates the production of endorphins which are natural relaxants that produce feelings of happiness and well-being. When accompanied by exercise, rest also helps activate the conversion.