The Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is found in much of the central nervous system and is produced by neurons. Much is related to the production of serotonin with emotional well-being, and it is that this chemical substance has functions as important as regulating our internal clock and controlling our sleep cycle, which is why its low levels are associated with depression, irritability, anxiety and fatigue.
At present, few are the people who manage to save themselves from a hectic pace of life and who do not experience any type of stress, which is why it is so necessary to take care of the health of the body as that of the mind, and serotonin plays a role. very important role in managing emotions such as anxiety and fear, so maintaining optimal levels of this substance is essential for mental health.
Many people experience diseases or conditions that decrease serotonin production and in these cases it is important to know how to obtain this substance through diet, so in this FastlyHealarticle we offer you a list of foods that help produce serotonin .
Table of Contents
Functions of serotonin in the body
Serotonin transmits signals between neurons to regulate its intensity, which is why it plays a fundamental role in the functioning of the central nervous system and in the gastrointestinal tract. This substance is produced in the brain and intestines, and the highest concentration in the body is found in the gastrointestinal tract, in the nervous system and in blood cells, which is why it influences a large part of the processes of the body. The main functions of serotonin in the body are:
- Bowel function : regulates bowel function and movements. It is the substance responsible for decreasing the appetite as we eat.
- Mood : helps regulate mood, anxiety and happiness.
- Blood clotting : the formation of blood clots is one of the most important functions of serotonin. Why? When there is a wound in the body, platelets secrete serotonin to produce a vasoconstriction that reduces blood flow and forms clots.
- Nausea : the intestine increases serotonin levels when the person consumes a toxic food to activate intestinal transit and expel said food through diarrhea. This action stimulates the desire to vomit in the brain and causes nausea.
In addition, serotonin plays a fundamental role in other processes such as:
- Regulate sexual desire .
- Control body temperature and motor activity.
- Serotonin is also involved in the function of other neurotransmitters such as dopamine, which is related to the control of anxiety, anxiety, fear and eating disorders.
- Serotonin stimulates the production of melatonin , a substance responsible for regulating sleep, which is why serotonin increases at dusk and decreases at dawn.
Serotonin levels can be affected by various conditions such as high blood sugar, stress, and hormonal changes. This substance tends to decrease when a person suffers from mental illnesses such as schizophrenia , obsessive compulsive disorder, depression, autism, migraines, hyperactivity, insomnia and generalized anxiety.
Serotonin and depression
The exact cause of depression is unknown, although it is associated with an imbalance in the action of different neurotransmitters, it has not been determined whether low levels of serotonin trigger depression or depression causes decreased levels of the substance. However, there is a close relationship between serotonin and depression, as most of the treatments for this disease are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors , which alter the levels of this substance in the body and act as antidepressants.
Foods that help produce serotonin
The foods that help produce serotonin are those that contain a large amount of tryptophan , an essential amino acid that stimulates the production of serotonin thanks to its ability to cross the brain barrier. The most important thing is that tryptophan is not produced by the body, so it must be consumed through food. Foods rich in tryptophan are:
- Blue fish : mackerel, anchovies, salmon, tuna, sardines, anchovies, eel, herring, caviar, black pomfret and trout. In addition, blue sins are an essential food in everyone’s diet due to their high content of omega 3 polyunsaturated fats, which help reduce altered levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood, prevent cardiovascular diseases and some types of cancer like breast cancer and colon cancer. Also, oily fish has almost 25 times more minerals than other proteins.
- Meats : they have the carbohydrates necessary for the brain to receive tryptophan. Chicken, turkey and rabbit meat are the richest in tryptophan. We must remember that the consumption of these proteins is necessary not only for their ability to stimulate the production of serotonin, but because they allow the skin tissues to regenerate, they are a source of energy, they help distribute oxygen in the blood and, without proteins the rest of the essential nutrients for the organism could not be assimilated correctly.
- Dairy : Yogurt, milk, and cheeses, specifically cheddar, soy, or Swiss are best for stimulating serotonin production. In addition, the consumption of dairy is very important for health because it represents the main source of calcium for the body, preventing diseases such as osteoporosis and breast cancer and helping to maintain strong bones to reduce the risk of fractures.
- Legumes : soybeans and peanuts offer 500 milligrams of tryptophan per 100 grams of consumption, not to mention that legumes are rich in magnesium and phosphorus, essential substances for the proper functioning of the nervous and neuromuscular system. In addition, legumes represent an important source of fibral, which stimulates the health of the gastrointestinal system where the highest amount of serotonin is produced.
- Eggs : they are a powerful source of tryptophan, especially the yolk, but not only for that reason they should be included in the diet. We must remember that the protein contained in eggs is more easily absorbed, not to mention that the white is rich in choline, a nutrient that helps the formation of brain tissue and improves memory.
- Cereals : rye, oats, wheat and corn are the cereals that offer the highest tryptophan content to the body. Cereals are also rich in fiber, so they help intestinal transit, but they also stimulate nail growth, provide energy, are low in fat and help regulate blood sugar level.
- Nuts : in addition to containing tryptophan, they are rich in magnesium that helps control stress and anxiety. He prefers pistachios and almonds. All nuts provide a large amount of energy to the body and help lower blood cholesterol, protecting the heart and preventing cardiovascular disease. Nuts are ideal to consume in the morning and have a productive day.
- Fruits : the fruits that offer the highest concentration of tryptophan are pineapple and banana. A study at the University of Queensland in Australia found that those who ate at least two servings of fruit every day had a lower risk of developing depression. Although the link between this food and depression is unknown, the result of this study is believed to be due to the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of fruits.
- Vegetables : preferably those that combine carbohydrates with tryptophan such as chickpeas, asparagus and spinach. Vegetables are the foods that offer the greatest amount of water to the body, so it is also good to consume them if you want to stimulate kidney function and prevent fluid retention. In addition, they are antioxidants, rich in vitamin C, low in fat and prevent the degeneration of the nervous system.
- Chocolate : perhaps it is the food that offers the highest amount of tryptophan to the body, but to be functional, a dark chocolate must be chosen, that is, with a high dose of natural cocoa. The darker the chocolate, the more tryptophan it contains, it fights free radicals, prevents heart disease, increases good cholesterol, helps vision and is richer in fatty acids that stimulate good mood. For this reason, nutritionists recommend having two tables of dark chocolate a day.
Other tips on producing serotonin
The best remedy to increase serotonin levels is exercise , it is even believed that exercising is the best medicine to treat depression , since when we subject our body to physical activity, the production of serotonin and many neurotransmitters is activated more than they intervene in the emotional well-being of people.
For this reason, exercising every day for at least 40 minutes or practicing a sports discipline such as yoga or swimming helps considerably to improve the symptoms of depression, stress, anxiety, sadness and anguish, supplanting them by feelings of joy, happiness, raising self-esteem and changing the perspective that we give to our daily life.
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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I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.