Foods That Increase Serotonin

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter in the brain plays a role in mood and anxiety disorders. The most common antidepressants, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), work by blocking the absorption of serotonin (and sometimes other neurotransmitters) so that more is available in the brain. People who are interested in boosting their brain serotonin levels in other ways sometimes turn to diet, choosing foods that may help increase serotonin.

Carbohydrates

Foods and meals rich in carbohydrates make it easier for tryptophan, the precursor to serotonin, to enter the brain. Simple carbohydrates, like sugar and other refined carbs, increase serotonin levels most significantly, but the effect is fleeting. Complex carbohydrates like whole grains, beans, legumes, and whole fruits and vegetables provide a more gradual and longer-lasting effect.

Vitamin B6

The brain needs vitamin B6 in order to produce serotonin and other neurotransmitters. Foods rich in B6 include fish, chicken, pork, fortified cereals, bananas, peanut butter, beans, and a number of vegetables.

Dark Chocolate

Some studies have linked dark chocolate to increased serotonin levels, with 1 oz per day being a common recommendation. Dark chocolate should contain a high percentage of cocoa and little or no added sugar.

Photo: Pixabay

More Articles

The antidepressant doxepin (originally marketed by Pfizer under the brand name Sinequan) is a tricyclic antidepressant approved to treat anxiety...

The good news for anyone suffering from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is that there are a number of effective treatment options available....

In what probably doesn't come as a surprise to many people, a research study published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology reports that the...

Should I try an herbal remedy for anxiety?

People are interested in herbal remedies for anxiety for a variety of reasons--some of the...

We all know that bullying and other stressful social situations can have lasting effects on a person, but a new study from New York’s Rockefeller...