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

According to research published in the journal Science, the drug ketamine can repair brain cell connections that have been disrupted by depression...

By now, everyone knows that exercise improves health on many levels--including mental health as well as physical health. There have been a number...

Although it seems improbable, Robert S. Wilson, Ph.D., of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, and his colleagues say that they found a...

Everyone suffers symptoms of anxiety now and then, and for many people anxiety is a chronic problem. But not all who suffer from anxiety...

Nardil, the brand name of the drug phenelzine, is the monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) most frequently prescribed for anxiety disorders. MAOIs...