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Foods rich in tryptophan

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Serotonin, popularly called the happiness hormone, is a neurotransmitter that is responsible for regulating sleep cycles, bowel movements, blood clotting, bone density, and moods, so low levels of serotonin can lead to depression. Serotonin is synthesized from an essential amino acid, tryptophan, which ingested through certain foods can help us improve serotonin levels. Knowing which products are rich in tryptophan is necessary to increase or at least boost our serotonin levels, and this is a step before putting negative thoughts aside to focus more on the joys and good times in life. Changing habits and mentality, and getting away from stress and anxiety, is an attitude in the hands of all of us, which will be reflected in our health and life in general. This amino acid is not only present in the manufacture of serotonin, but it is also essential in that of melatonin, the sleep hormone responsible for regulating the body’s balance between wakefulness and sleep.

Next, in FastlyHeal, we will detail those foods rich in tryptophan that will help your brain manufacture serotonin and melatonin.

How does tryptophan work in your body?

Tryptophan is the least abundant of the eight essential amino acids in the human diet; this causes its entry into the blood-brain barrier to be hampered by competition with other amino acids.

The lack of tryptophan affecting our body and mind is easy to understand, especially for women. The consequences of a lack of tryptophan are comparable to premenstrual syndrome. During premenstrual syndrome, tryptophan metabolism is modified, hindering the creation of serotonin and leading to mood swings and a specific depressive state. If you spend some time with low levels of tryptophan, by not producing enough serotonin, you can experience mood swings, sadness, easy crying, and, ultimately, depression.

Even though most foods contain tryptophan, sometimes the diet cannot provide all the necessary to make the serotonin that is needed. To this, we must add that with age and the aging of the body, enzymes break down tryptophan before it can be converted into serotonin, which is why an extra contribution is required. Typically, with 3,000 mg of tryptophan, the brain can synthesize serotonin in 8-12 hours. By following a proper diet and eating foods rich in tryptophan, you will keep your body fueled enough to be happy.

What foods contain the most tryptophan?

It should be said that the vast majority of foods contain this amino acid. However, not all have it at the same level. Apart from that, this element is more powerful when associated with others such as potassium, glucose, magnesium, or vitamin B. Knowing the foods rich in tryptophan is relevant since the only way to ingest this essential amino acid is through food. Next, we leave you the list of the foods richest in tryptophan:


It is undoubtedly the food with the highest concentration of tryptophan, but not just any chocolate will do. The darker the chocolate, the higher its dose of natural cocoa and, consequently, the higher the dose of tryptophan for your body. Consuming two ounces of dark chocolate a day is considered a recommended practice, not only for the number of amino acids but also for preventing heart disease and fighting free radicals, among others.


In addition to containing tryptophan, nuts are rich in magnesium, so their combination makes them perfect allies to combat stress and anxiety. Due to the large amount of energy they provide, it is best to take them in the morning to have strength throughout the day.


Especially peanuts and soybeans are two foods that provide up to 500 milligrams of tryptophan for every 100 grams of consumption. If we add large doses of magnesium and phosphorus, the result will be an essential food in our diet to help us control the nervous system.

Pineapple and banana

If fruits by themselves are already great carriers of tryptophan, banana and pineapple are among the two that contribute the most. The relationship between fruit consumption and the amount of serotonin generated has long been demonstrated; it is estimated that people who eat at least two servings of fruit daily are less likely to suffer from depression.


Although if you do not like tuna, it can also be extended to all bluefish. Fish such as salmon, anchovy, bonito, or sardine and tryptophan contain reasonable amounts of Omega 3, an essential fat that our body does not produce and plays a vital role in the proper development of the circulatory system.


With special mention to the turkey, chicken, and rabbit. Meat contains the carbohydrates necessary for the proper absorption of tryptophan by the brain.


Cereals are great suppliers of tryptophan, but above all, they are fiber, essential to regulate intestinal transit and blood sugar level. But focusing on tryptophan, those with the highest content of this essential amino acid are rye, oats, wheat, and corn.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

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