We all know that bananas are full of potassium, which is good for counteracting the effects of sodium in the body and balancing blood pressure. But did you know that banana can literally make you happier? That’s right! Bananas contain a substance called tryptophan, which is an amino acid. The body converts this acid into serotonin – “the happy hormone”. Bananas also contains vitamin B6, iron, and carbohydrates. The carbohydrate helps in the absorption of tryptophan in the brain, while vitamin B6 helps convert tryptophan into the mood-lifting serotonin.
2. Dark Chocolate
Chocolate does not have to be “bad for you”. In fact, chocoholics, rejoice! Dark chocolate can be beneficial to your health. It contains antioxidants that come mostly from cocoa; these have been reported to promote blood vessels and counteract high blood pressure. Dark chocolate also contains tryptophan, like bananas. It is found in small quantities in dark chocolate; the production of serotonin that is made in the brain, produces the feelings of happiness. Dark chocolate also contains phenylethylalanine, a chemical that helps promote the feelings of attraction, excitement, and nervousness, that is usually associated with “butterflies in your stomach” when falling in love. Next time you feel butterflies when that person walks past you, ask yourself, “is it me, or is it the phenylethylalanine from that chocolate kicking in?”
Berries including, blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries have chemicals similar to valproic acid, which is a prescription mood-stabilizing drug according to research. Anthocyanidins and anthocyanins are nutrients that are found in these berries. These nutrients have been shown to help reduce depression and stress. When you are not under stress, your mood is uplifted. The antioxidant potential of berries also works to reduce inflammation which can help stave off the bad vibes.
This leafy green not only contains calcium to help strengthen your bones or other nutrients to help fight against colon and breast cancer, spinach is stocked with folic acid and B vitamin that has been found to help boost mood. Deficiencies in vitamin B has been linked to depression as low levels of this essential nutrient deters the amount of serotonin – “the happy hormone”, that is produced in the brain. Eating spinach provides the body more Vitamin B, which therefore, aids in the production of serotonin.
You can almost never go wrong with avocados, ever; this fruit is great just for almost anything. Avocados contain tryptophan, which directly helps in the production of serotonin. They also contain nutrients that are beneficial for skin, hair, and nails. When you look good, you feel good!
According to this research, “Chicken extract, which is rich in anserine and carnosine, has been widely taken in Asian countries as a traditional remedy with various aims, including attenuation of psychological fatigue.” Not only does chicken taste good, it contains vitamin B-12 and tryptophan, which has been shown to reduce depression and boost the production of serotonin.
Salmon tastes delicious and also makes you happy. It’s a win-win with this seafood. Salmon is chock full of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential nutrients that the body cannot produce by itself. Omge-3 fatty acids has been shown to help improve mood and fight depression, according to this study.