Foods That Increase Serotonin

Foods That Increase Serotonin in the Brain

Serotonin is a brain chemical that influences mood and it is crucial for the body’s balance. Consuming foods that increase serotonin like foods rich in tryptophan, an essential amino acid such as salmon, eggs, spinach, and seeds supports natural serotonin production.

Apart from the brain, serotonin exists in areas like blood, intestines, and connective tissues.


In the bloodstream, it regulates vessel constriction, aids nervous system communication, and contributes to brain function.

This neurotransmitter significantly impacts overall health and is linked to positive emotions.


Decreased brain serotonin levels might lead to memory issues and low mood, especially impactful for individuals with a history of depression.

Let’s get into the foods that will help increase serotonin in the brain when consumed.

Foods That Increase Serotonin

Here’s an overview of foods that increase serotonin levels and help improve mood:

1. Tofu

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Tofu is one of the soy products that are rich sources of tryptophan putting it in the list of foods that increase serotonin.


You can always substitute tofu for pretty much any protein, in pretty much any recipe, making it an excellent source of tryptophan for vegetarians and vegans.

However, some tofu is calcium-set, meaning that the manufacturer has added calcium. This provides a great calcium boost.

2. Pineapples

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Do you know the usefulness of pineapples? Yes, pineapples have been shown for decades to contain serotonin and nutrients that are healthy for the human body.

But it’s very good when you get them while they’re fresh. Although some other plants, like tomatoes, increase in serotonin as they ripen, that’s not the case with pineapples.

3. Cheese

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Cheese is another great source of tryptophan that also boosts serotonin in the body.  

You can make a yummy mac and cheese and cheese as your favorite, which combines cheddar cheese with eggs and milk which is also a good source of tryptophan.

4. Seeds

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Seeds are a plant source of tryptophan but they do not contain as much tryptophan as oily fish, poultry, or eggs.

However, they are very good sources of tryptophan and protein for vegetarians and vegans.

There are a lot of ways you can eat seeds comfortably, but some easy ways to eat more seeds include: Sprinkling seeds onto a salad, mixing nuts and seeds for a snack, choosing seeded bread, and adding seeds to cereal, porridge, or yogurt.

5. Salmon

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As said earlier salmon contain tryptophan that helps in boosting serotonin in the body. It is so hard to go wrong with salmon because salmon goes with every delicacy. Combine it with eggs and milk to make a smoked salmon frittata!

Also, salmon has other nutritional benefits, like helping balance cholesterol, lowering blood pressure, and being a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.

6. Spinach

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Spinach is among the dark green leafy vegetables that are great sources of tryptophan as well as a good source of iron.

Tryptophan helps boost serotonin while iron helps the body to make healthy red blood cells. A lack of iron in the diet can lead to anemia, low energy, or difficulty breathing.

7. Milk

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Generally, milk is also a good source of calcium, which helps to build healthy bones and teeth.

So choosing a low-fat option can be more healthful than full-fat milk, particularly for people watching their saturated fat intake and people with low serotonin levels.

8. Eggs

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Eggs as a very good source of protein are among the foods that increase serotonin levels naturally. That is why those with low serotonin levels make eggs a part of their breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

It’s important to remember that the preparation method is key. Boiling or poaching eggs is the healthiest way to consume them while frying or scrambling with lots of butter is the least healthy approach.

9. Dairy Products

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Dairy Products

Dairy Products are rich in calcium for strong teeth and bones, and dairy products like milk and cheese are great sources of tryptophan for those who are not lactose intolerant.

Also, always choose lower-fat dairy options to prevent adding too many unwanted calories for optimal health benefits.


10. Nuts

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Nuts are among the foods that increase serotonin because all nuts contain tryptophan.

According to a research review from 2018, studies show that eating nuts regularly also lowers your risk for heart disease by improving your lipid and apolipoprotein profile.

Nuts are also good sources of fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants.


Are you in need of a natural and easy way to manage your depression or anxiety, tryptophan-rich foods may be helpful.

Don’t forget that these foods must be combined with healthy carbohydrates in order to affect serotonin levels.

In addition, exercise, light therapy, and a high-fiber diet are also good ways to naturally boost your serotonin levels and overall mood.  But if you’re considering taking tryptophan supplements, consult a doctor for advice.