I can think of about a thousand foods that would make me happy – for the short term. Their names generally revolve around ingredients like chocolate, chocolate and chocolate. But this post is about happiness for the long road. Unfortunately, the foods that boost our mood while we’re eating (pizza, ice cream, burgers, specialty coffee drinks, and whatever your guilty pleasure is) and the foods that boost our mood long after the plates have been cleared from the table are quite different.

Serotonin is a word that sometimes gets thrown around when happiness is the topic of choice. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is manufactured in our body, and found primarily in our gut (not our brain).  The role of serotonin is to regulate mood, sleep and appetite! Serotonin’s best friend is an amino acid called tryptophan. Tryptophan (notoriously associated with dozing after a hearty turkey-filled Thanksgiving dinner) is what makes serotonin possible. Needless to say, regularly eating foods that contain tryptophan could put a smile on your face a little more often.

Foods That Contain Plenty of Tryptophan

Seaweed
Egg Whites
Spinach
Seafood (particularly crab, halibut, shrimp, lobster, salmon)
Watercress (raw)
Turkey
Tuna
Lamb
Chicken Breast
Beef
Turnip Greens
Broccoli Rapini
Soy Sauce
Cheddar Cheese (low fat)
Mozzarella Cheese
Cottage Cheese
Beet Greens
Kidney Beans
Red Leaf Lettuce
Asparagus

 

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