What foods raise serotonin levels?
1 Food sources that help with serotonin production - foods high in B-vitamins (brown rice, chicken, corn ,eggs, green leafs, legumes, meat, nuts, peas, sunflower seeds, nutritional yeast), Calcium (almonds, brewer's yeast, green leafs and cruciferous vegetables, fish with bones, sesame seeds, tofu), Magnesium (green leafs, brown rice, sesame seeds, shrimp, salmon) and Tryptophan (turkey, soy foods, peanuts, almonds).
2 Essential fatty acids necessary for serotonin production are the omega 3's (fish oils found in mackerel, salmon, sardine, tuna; walnut oil, flax oil) and 6's (canola oil, chicken, eggs, flax, grape seed oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, turkey, wheat germ oil) as well as Gamma-Linolenic Acid (black current oil, bluegreen algae, borage oil, evening primrose oil). I've also read that most people have an excess of omega 6's and need to decrease the amount of 6's in their diet in order for the 3's to function well. I guess most of us are lacking in 3's.
3 Long-term stress depletes serotonin levels. Short term stress actually increases serotonin, but after time you get burn-out and it becomes increasingly difficult for the body to produce serotonin. So reduce stress--this can be as simple as adding exercise and meditation to the daily routine or as life changing as choosing to leave a really stressful job.
4-Avoid stimulants because they deplete serotonin over time--this works the same was stress does. We're talking things like caffeine, refined carbohydrates, chocolate, sugar as well as the heavier stimulants like cold remedies, alcohol, street drugs, diet pills and tobacco.
Taken from Alpha Online A Division of Environmed Research
Serotonin is similar to catecholamines. It is made from the amino acid, tryptophan. Serotonin is converted to melatonin in the pineal gland. Tryptophan, derived from food, is transported to the brain to make the neurotransmitter serotonin. At the appropriate place inside a brain cell, two enzymes and vitamin B6 transform tryptophan to serotonin. Serotonin is then transferred to the sending end of the neuron (the terminal bouton of the axon), where it is used as a molecular messenger to carry information across the synapse to the receiving neuron. ...
Serotonin production is sensitive to the supply of tryptophan in the diet. The effects of serotonin were first observed in the digestive tract where it causes contractions of the smooth muscle. Serotonin is released from blood platelets and elevates blood pressure. Serotonin circuits arise from the brain stem arousal complex and reach into all areas of the brain. Increased serotonin circuit activity tends to activate abnormal behaviors. Too little serotonin is associated with sleep disturbances, loss of appetite and depression. Some antidepressant drugs increase serotonin activity and these drugs tend to decrease appetite.
Serotonin itself isn't in food. It's a neurotransmitter released into the synapse and bloodstream. However, certain foods cause serotonin to be released like candy, cereal and pasta. Anything with plenty of carbohydrates will increase serotonin levels. However, the effects won't last long, maybe only 2-3 hours.
Please don't discount chocolate in an emergency , especially for women .I don't drink alcohol, but chocolate cheers me up niceely.