Food has long ceased to be just a source of energy for us. It lifts the mood, gives pleasure and expands our cultural knowledge. Often during periods of emotional decline, we resort to a pleasant snack. It seems to us that a chocolate bar will help to cope with a bad mood, but in fact…
There are foods that can increase the level of serotonin in your body, but there are also those that deplete its reserves. “Serotonin is a very important chemical neurotransmitter that helps regulate many brain and body functions, including mood, sleep, bone health, blood clotting and memory formation,” explains neuroscientist Caroline Leaf. “If serotonin levels are balanced, it helps regulate emotions and stabilize mood.”
Alas, but in the modern world, a person often lives “with a downed serotonin level” precisely because of food! What foods and drinks can cause a temporary decrease in serotonin levels, even if it seems to us that they help to lift the mood?
Refined foods affect the production of serotonin in the body, which, in turn, can affect your mood. Unfortunately, they are often found in the composition of sweet drinks, desserts in packaging (for example, a ready-made cake from the store), chocolate bars, breakfast cereals, etc.
“With regular consumption, these foods can reduce the amount of tryptophan, which contributes to the production of serotonin, and B vitamins in our diet, as well as affect our ability to produce serotonin when needed,” notes Leaf. Therefore, if you are in a bad mood, chocolate can only make things worse.
Food with a high content of trans fats
There are many reasons to avoid foods with trans fats, including their ability to lower serotonin levels. These include popular salty snacks, such as potato chips, pizza and other products from fast food chains.
Highly processed foods
Alas, sausage, frozen ready meals and canned food are also included in the list of “enemies of serotonin”. “If these foods are consumed in excess for a long time, they can affect the health of our intestines, where most of the serotonin in the body is produced. As with most things in life, moderation plays a key role,” adds Dr. Leaf.
What foods increase serotonin levels?
Considering that all the most delicious foods (chocolate, chips and pizza) only worsen the mood, how can serotonin levels be increased? According to Leaf, serotonin is produced by tryptophan, which is not naturally produced by our body. Therefore, your diet should contain foods containing this amino acid.
For example: eggs, nuts, salmon and cheese. Scrambled eggs and toast with salmon in the morning is a great way to cheer up!
But is food the only factor affecting serotonin levels? Fortunately, there are many ways to regulate this neurotransmitter. “Regular exercise is also a great way to boost serotonin levels, sunshine, walking, and a good night’s sleep. All this can help improve your mood,” scientists say.