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This Is the Dietary Key to Improving Mood

Two people eat salads.
Viktoriia Hnatiuk/Shutterstock.com

Food isn’t the answer to everything (though there’s a high chance it’s the answer to most things). When it comes to your mood, turns out, that it actually might be part of the answer.

According to Caroline Leaf, MD, communication pathologist and cognitive neuroscientist, tryptophan might be the way to help increase the serotonin in your brain.

Serotonin is the chemical responsible for everything from memory formation to sleep, and when it’s in balance, it can help to regulate mood and steady emotions. Our bodies, however, don’t naturally make the chemical, but Dr. Leaf said it does come from the amino acid tryptophan which can be found in certain foods.

Dr. Leaf cites eggs, nuts, seeds, cheese, and salmon as good sources of the amino acid, but they’re not alone. You can also snack on some edamame, throw some spinach in a smoothie, or grab a spoonful of peanut butter. Each of these foods will add tryptophan into the body and help boost serotonin levels.

While these foods can help boost your levels, there are also ones that can lower them. Dr. Leaf said to avoid sugary snacks, trans-fat, and highly processed food.

If you’re looking to add a few mood-boosting meals into your week, you can always grill up some salmon or make a green smoothie.

[Via Well + Good]

Shea Simmons Shea Simmons
Shea Simmons is an Atlanta-based writer who has written about everything from whether Crisco is a good moisturizer to how to KonMari your space. Her work has appeared in Bustle, My First Apartment, and Make It Grateful. Read Full Bio »
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