Serotonin is an important brain chemical that helps to elevate your mood and stop you from feeling down or depressed.
In addition to chemical substitutes, there are numerous natural ways to increase Serotonin levels to feel happy, fulfilled, and energized again.

Understand Serotonin Myths

Unfortunately, there are a lot of myths surrounding food and increased levels of serotonin. These myths include Foods rich in tryptophan automatically boost serotonin. This is false. Most foods that contain tryptophan, an amino acid, compete with other amino acids to be absorbed by the body’s transport system.

  • Eating a lot of turkey, which is rich in tryptophan, will not automatically give you more serotonin.
  • Eating a lot of banana will automatically boost serotonin. Bananas do contain serotonin. That serotonin, however, is unable to cross the blood-brain barrier and be absorbed by humans.

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Embrace Complex Carbs

Complex carbohydrates are absorbed by the body differently than simple carbohydrates. Simple carbs like white rice and white bread raise your blood levels quickly, causing a spike in insulin, which drops after a while.[2] Complex carbs are absorbed more slowly by the body and therefore avoid the massive peaks and troughs brought upon by simple carbs.

Complex carbs:

  • Legumes like peas and lentils
  • Whole grain bread
  • Whole grain pasta
  • Brown rice
  • Starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes and parsnips

Simple carbs:

  • White bread
  • White rice
  • “Normal” pasta
  • Cakes, candies, and other refined sugar products

Avoid Caffeine

Caffeine suppresses serotonin, which could also help explain why it’s a hunger suppressant as well.[2] Energy drinks contain large amounts of sugar, which the body processes quickly, but which produce an energy-zapping low after the insulin has finished surging. If you have to drink caffeinated products, wait until after you’ve eaten, as doctors recommend.

Eat Healthy Fats

Omega-3 fatty acids are hypothesized to affect the functionality of serotonin in the brain. People with low serotonin levels commonly have low DHA levels, which is an essential building block in the brain and needs to be replenished with foods such as fish oils, which are high in omega-3 fatty acids.

Look for omega-3 fats in Fish, such as salmon, and fish oils, nuts, seeds, and seed oils, such as flax seed oil.

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Eat Dark Chocolate

Eating dark chocolate improves serotonin levels partly because of resveratrol. Resveratrol boosts both endorphins and serotonin levels. Remember to reach for dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate, as milk chocolate contains far less cocoa (the stuff that produces serotonin) than dark chocolate.

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Boost serotonin with dark chocolate!

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