This Winter Snack On Food That Boosts Serotonin

7 min read
Published on 17 November, 2021

When the days get shorter and colder in the fall and winter, many people become affected by seasonal affective disorder. An imbalance of hormones can cause depression and anxiety.

Nevertheless, serotonin is the happy hormone that keeps your sanity in check.

The chaos and rat-running make it difficult to find time to take vitamins or eat a healthy meal. Wouldn't it be wonderful to get your dose of happy hormones while you're eating lunch or snacking? Sounds surreal. The fact is, you can easily groove to those happy meals with a more optimistic mood.

In this article, we will learn more about food that will help you to improve your mood and increase serotonin levels.

What are serotonin or happy hormones?

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First, let us talk about serotonin and what it is actually.

Serotonin is a chemical found in the brain, blood, intestines, and connective tissues. This substance causes blood vessels to constrict, helps nerves transmit information, and promotes brain function.

Tryptophan is commonly found in foods high in protein. Food does not contain serotonin, but tryptophan does, an amino acid that helps the body produce serotonin. It also aids the brain is functioning as well as inducing healthy sleep.

70% of your serotonin is made in your gut. What's going on in your stomach will eventually affect your mood, anxiety, depression, and focus.

Food that helps you boost serotonin

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Dopamine, serotonin, endorphins, and oxytocin from the quartet are responsible for your wellness. So if you are not feeding your body correctly, then your health will be affected.

Many events stimulate these neurotransmitters, but rather than letting your mental health slide, you can easily change your diet with rich food.

This will increase your levels of serotonin to help you get through the day.

"A banana a day keeps bitterness at bay."

Suggested Read : Mood Meters: A New Corporate Health And Wellness Initiative

Here are some foods you should include in your diet that produce feel-good chemicals in the body

1. Nuts

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Image courtesy- Pinterest

Nuts and seeds are excellent sources of protein, healthy fats, and fiber.
Nibble on some nuts between meals to feel full for longer. Moreover, they contain tryptophan, an amino acid responsible for generating serotonin.

Several nuts, including walnuts, cashews, almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds, are good sources of serotonin.

Walnuts are known to lessen the symptoms of depression, as they are the richest plant-based omega-3 fatty acids.

2. Poultry

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Image courtesy - Pinterest

Turkey, chicken breasts, and goose are good protein sources rich in tryptophan and vitamin B5. Even though It is the sleepy chemical in turkey, it does play a vital role in serotonin production.

Chicken is rich in magnesium, which relieves many symptoms of PMS.

3. Eggs

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Image courtesy -Pinterest

Eggs are high in healthy fats, vitamin B, and yeast which is beneficial for the brain. They are also a great source of vitamin D, which further helps in promoting good sleep and serotonin levels in the body.

Suggested Read :How Sleep Deprivation Affects Work Performance

4. Salmon

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Image courtesy - Pinterest

Salmon is rich in omega-3 and fatty acids, which further lower your risk of depression. It is also a great source of tryptophan which helps to produce the amino acid responsible for boosting serotonin levels in your body naturally.

Salmon can be beneficial for reducing anxiety as they are rich in nutrients that promote brain health including vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids.

5. Tofu/cheese

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Image courtesy - Pinterest

Being low on vitamin D can negatively lower your mood and cause mood disorders. Dairy and soy products are rich in vitamin D, which helps your brain to produce mood-boosting chemicals.

You can also substitute them for proteins. Vegans and vegetarians can benefit from these foods since they are also high in tryptophan.

Suggested Read : 11 Refreshing and Healthy Energy Drinks to Recharge You at Work

6. Pineapple

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Image courtesy - Pinterest

Eating a few slices of pineapple every day can increase your energy intake and boost your metabolism. It also nourishes your skin, hair and acts as a blood purifier. It also contains compounds that reduce oxidative stress and inflammation.

7. Dark chocolates

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Dark chocolates are rich in antioxidants which helps to boost brain function and lower anxiety and depression. Dark chocolate contains more flavonoids, substances that improve inflammation profiles, which are associated with depression.

According to a recent study by researchers of UCLin collaboration with scientists from the University of Calgary and Alberta Health Services Canada and assessed data from 13,626 adults from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey it is found that people who ate dark chocolate in two 24-hour periods had 70% reduced odds of reporting depressive symptoms than those who did not eat chocolate.

8. Flax seeds and chia seeds

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Image courtesy - Shuttershock

Chia seeds, flax seeds, and hemp are high in essential fats. These are beneficial for brain functions, as well as chemicals like dopamine and serotonin that promote good mental health.

Suggested Read : Healthy And Warm Winter Snacks You Can Bring To Work

9. Whole grain oatmeal

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Image courtesy - Pinterest

Legumes and whole-grain meals like oatmeals are rich in fibers and complex carbohydrates. These are also power-packed meals that keep your sugar levels in check. Moreover, it helps promote healthy bacteria in your gut, and since 70% of serotonin is made in the gut, the health of your gut ultimately affects the health of your mood.

10. Spinach

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Image courtesy - Pinterest

Spinach is filled with brain-boosting nutrients such as vitamin K, lutein, folate, and beta carotene. They appear to help counteract cognitive decline. You can also find tryptophan in dark greens and leafy vegetables. Furthermore, they are rich in iron, which is essential for the creation of healthy red blood cells.

11. Berries

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Image courtesy- Pinterest

With a high content of antioxidants known as flavonoids, blueberries help activate brain pathways associated with better cognition and less cellular aging.

Blueberries and blueberry juice are associated with having a more positive mood.

Do not cut on those carbs. Keep eating protein, good fats, and carbs. These three components make up neurotransmitters and are needed for their proper functioning.

How to naturally boost serotonin

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The brain chemicals serotonin and dopamine are responsible for regulating our mood, appetite, and mental health.

It is considered the happy hormone can be induced by eating foods rich in serotonin, doing certain activities, or taking medications. But many people prefer to try out naturally stimulating serotonin as opposed to committing to drugs or pills.

High serotonin levels promote good sleep.

Below are some of the ways to boost your serotonin naturally

1. Exercise

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The release of tryptophan and endorphines is triggered by working out or exercising. It creates an ideal environment in your body for serotonin to reach your brain. However, intense exercise can lead to the opposite effect as it can lead to physical burnout and exhaustion.

Aerobic exercise is the most effective when it comes to boosting serotonin levels in the body.

2. Meditation

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Meditation is a state of calm, focused contemplation. Studies have shown that meditation increases the release of dopamine. It also reduces stress and promotes inner peace.

Suggested Read : 8 Surprising Benefits Of Introducing Meditation At Work

3. Practicing gratitude

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Research has shown that gratitude affects the brain's reward system. It is linked to the release of dopamine and serotonin. The increase in happiness is directly related to appreciation.

Suggested Read : Top 5 Benefits Of Gratitude On Workplace Wellness

4. More time with nature

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Spending more time with nature and less with social media and news is one of the best ways to achieve serotonin naturally. People nowadays spend most of their time sitting indoor or under artificial lighting.

Thus, spending at least 5 mins outdoor can lift your mood, boost your self-confidence and increase your motivation.

Spending time in sunlight helps to increase your serotonin levels. According to research by PubMed Central, the skin synthesizes serotonin from sunlight.

Summing it up

Thus, to sum up, you can say that self-love is essential to thrive and hustle in this chaotic world. However, it can look different for each individual. This article discusses what triggers your neurotransmitter and how to obtain those.

Being in a good relationship with yourself and your food is essential to your mental well-being. People are becoming dependent on serotonin and dopamine. I hope you found this article helpful, and if things are a bit more complicated, you can always seek professional assistance.

Remember that mental health is equally important to physical health in today's world.

This article is written by Neha Yasmin who is a content marketer at Vantage Circle. A selenophile with a penchant for discovering great meals and drinks. Is a self-proclaimed binge racer with a knack for cooking in her spare time. For queries, reach out to editor@vantagecircle.com

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