Foods that boost your serotonin

Updated February 21, 2017

Also referred to 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT), serotonin helps you regulate your mood, arousal and appetite. According to Macalester College, serotonin "is found throughout the body, with only a relatively small portion present in the brain" but is produced in the brain. If you're looking for a way to boost your mood and feel better about yourself, start with boosting your serotonin before turning to medication. Plenty of foods can increase the serotonin produced in your brain.

Light Carbohydrates

Carbs help to give you a quick boost of serotonin in the brain. However, this boost is only short lived, and you should not overdo it to continue to get the lift. Eat a "good" carbs, like the kinds found in fruits and vegetable, as opposed to stocking up on foods high in sugar to get the lift.


Foods high in protein give your body a surge of serotonin and quite a bit of tryptophan. Eat plenty of fish, chicken, cheese, turkey and eggs along with vegetables for this boost. To stay healthy (and happier), indulge in lean fish and chicken to prevent adding on pounds.

Good Fat

There is such a thing as "good" fat. The fat found in nuts, peanut butter, fish, oils and avocados will boost your serotonin production. Enjoy salmon, tuna (keep in mind that a lot of tuna contains mercury), flaxseed oil, almond and olive oil and plenty of nuts.

Fish Oil

The fatty acid in fish oil can help your brain regulate your mood. If you're not sure how to cook with fish oil, buy fish oil supplements, which can be found at any drug, grocery or vitamin store.

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About the Author

Andrea Griffith has been writing professionally since 2005. Her work has been published by the "Western Herald," Detroit WDIV, USAToday and other print, broadcast and online publications. Although she writes about a wide range of topics, her areas of expertise include fashion, beauty, technology and education. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and English from Western Michigan University.