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6 Foods that Can Help Improve Your Mental Health

6 Foods that Can Help Improve Your Mental Health

Eating healthy does more than just help you maintain a healthy weight, it can also contribute to your mental health. There are certain foods out there that can help boost your serotonin levels, which will result in feeling happier.

What is serotonin and why is it important?

Serotonin is a key hormone that helps to stabilize our mood, how we feel and our happiness. Serotonin can be found in the brain, blood, intestines and connective tissues. Not only does it help our mood, but it also contracts our blood vessels, helps transmit information across our nervous system, and plays an important role in our brain functions. 


Serotonin is an essential hormone for maintaining our health and wellbeing, but most people associate it with a positive mood. Research has linked low serotonin to certain mood disorders, and it might play a part in depression. 


Having minimal levels of serotonin in the body can cause memory problems and low mood. And low serotonin in the brain is more likely to affect someone negatively if they have suffered from depression in the past.


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Serotonin and Tryptophan

The amino acid tryptophan is important for the production of serotonin in the body. It is also a key player in brain function and also plays an important role in healthy sleep. We do not make tryptophan in our bodies, so we must get it from our diet. 


The good news is tryptophan can be found in food, but serotonin cannot. Eating a balanced diet is essential for supporting mental and physical health. Consuming foods that contain tryptophan can have positive benefits on your energy, mood and sleep. Diet and mental health are closely linked!


Here are a few healthy foods that boost serotonin:

1. Salmon

Salmon is an oily fish that contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for staying healthy. These types of fatty acids support strong bones, healthy skin and healthy eye function. Salmon is also a source of vitamin D, which is what your bones, teeth and muscles need to stay healthy.


2. Eggs

The protein found in eggs can help significantly boost tryptophan in the body. The yolk of the egg is extremely rich in tryptophan along with other nutrients that have major health benefits and antioxidant properties. 


3. Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are great sources of tryptophan. They are also a great replacement option for those who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet. Almost any variation of nuts and seeds are a great healthy snack or meal addition, and there are many types of whole grain breads available with nuts and seeds baked into them.


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4. Cheese and Milk

Cheese or milk can be a great source of tryptophan, plus they contain calcium which contributes to healthy bones and teeth. If you want to be more health conscious of your choices, pick milk and cheese that are low in fat to get all the benefits without the weight gain. 


5. Pineapple

Pineapple is known to contain high levels of tryptophan that can help boost serotonin in the brain. It also contains a protein known as bromelain, which is another great protein that should be consumed regularly for its anti-inflammatory properties. 


6. Tofu and Soy

Tofu is made from soy, which is full of tryptophan. Soy milk and other soy products have been gaining popularity over the years, and they are a great way for vegetarians and vegans to consume adequate amounts of tryptophan without needing to eat meat. 


It’s possible to raise your serotonin levels naturally, by making small changes to your diet. Find out what’s best for your daily diet through your dietary DNA test. Over time, you should be able to notice some improvements in the way you feel mentally and physically. 


By gaining a deeper understanding of how your genes can impact the way you feel, and how you can make small yet effective changes to optimize your foods and dietary habits, you can start to protect your body from the negative impacts of an unhealthy diet and potentially improve your overall health.


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