We love to find ways to bring happiness or spread some joy whether by finding new hobbies or finding new routines to bring into our lives. But did you know that eating certain foods can help lift your spirits as well? Certain foods are associated with increased serotonin in our brains. Serotonin, known as the “happy hormone”, is a chemical that can help regulate one’s mood. A low level of serotonin can cause mood instability. While there are endless ways of gaining serotonin in your own life, here are 7 foods that according to science can promote happiness:
- Dark Chocolate: A systematic review found that dark chocolate can positively impact one’s mood. There are 3 components in dark chocolate which help promote this: Tryptophan, theobromine, and phenylethylamine. Tryptophan is an amino acid that is used to create serotonin, phenylethylamine is another amino acid that the body uses to produce dopamine, and theobromine is a weak stimulant that can improve your mood.
- Bananas: Bananas themselves contain serotonin but it is unable to cross the blood-brain barrier, so they work in a more indirect way. Your body needs vitamin B6 to create serotonin and bananas are rich in this nutrient.
- Coconut: Coconut is full of medium-chain triglycerides which help boost energy and those medium-chain triglycerides are known for helping reduce anxiety.
- Coffee: If you are a huge coffee drinker, this one is for you. Coffee consumption is significantly associated with decreased risk of depression. Both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee can significantly improve one’s mood.
- Avocado: This fresh, smooth, and creamy fruit is packed with nutrients like choline which helps your body to regulate your nervous system and mood. In addition, is that it is rich in vitamin B which can be linked to lower stress levels.
- Berries: It has been found that consuming fruit and vegetables, in general, was highly associated with improved mental health. Berries, in particular, are full of antioxidants that help reduce depression symptoms.
- Fermented Foods: Foods that go through the process of fermenting, like kimchi, kombucha, yogurt, and sauerkraut, can help you maintain a healthy gut which in turn helps improve your mood. The process of fermentation creates probiotics that help support healthy bacteria in your gut. 90% of serotonin is produced by your body and is created from gut cells.
When it comes to mental health and struggling with the side effects, people can tend to turn to sugary things but it is more likely to be unhelpful in the end. Instead, opt-in for more nutrient-rich foods like the ones listed here to give a good boost of serotonin.
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