How can you boost your serotonin and dopamine levels through nutrition?

How can you boost your serotonin levels through nutrition?

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, or chemical messenger, that’s involved in many processes throughout your body, from regulating your mood to promoting smooth digestion.

It’s also known for:

- Promoting good sleep by helping regulate circadian rhythms

- Helping regulate appetite

- Promoting learning and memory

- Helping promote positive feelings and prosocial behaviour

If you have low serotonin, you might:

- Feel anxious, low, or depressed

- Feel irritable or aggressive

- Have sleep issues or feel fatigued

- Feel impulsive

- Have a decreased appetite

- Experience nausea and digestive issues

- Crave sweets and carbohydrate-rich foods

Here are 6 foods that might help increase serotonin levels:

1. Eggs

The protein in eggs can significantly boost your blood plasma levels of tryptophan

2. Cheese

Cheese is another great source of tryptophan. A yummy favorite you could make is mac and cheese that combines cheddar cheese with eggs and milk, which are also good sources of tryptophan.

3. Pineapples

Pineapples have been shown for decades to contain serotonin.

4. Tofu

Soy products are rich sources of tryptophan. You can substitute tofu for pretty much any protein, in pretty much any recipe, making it an excellent source of tryptophan for vegetarians and vegans.

5. Salmon

It’s hard to go wrong with salmon, which — as you may have guessed — is also rich in tryptophan!

6. Nuts and seeds

Pick and choose your faves, because all nuts and seeds contain tryptophan.

How can I boost my dopamine levels through nutrition?

Dopamine is an important chemical messenger in the brain that has many functions. It’s involved in reward, motivation, memory, attention and even regulating body movements. When dopamine is released in large amounts, it creates feelings of pleasure and reward, which motivates you to repeat a specific behavior. In contrast, low levels of dopamine are linked to reduced motivation and decreased enthusiasm for things that would excite most people.

1. Eat Lots of Protein - Both tyrosine and phenylalanine are naturally found in protein-rich foods like turkey, beef, eggs, dairy, soy and legumes.

2. Eat Less Saturated Fat - Some animal research has found that saturated fats, such as those found in animal fat, butter, full-fat dairy, palm oil and coconut oil, may disrupt dopamine signaling in the brain when consumed in very large quantities.

3. Eat Velvet Beans - Velvet beans, also known as Mucuna pruriens, naturally contain high levels of L-dopa, the precursor molecule to dopamine.

4. See a nutritionist - Your body requires several vitamins and minerals to create dopamine. These include iron, niacin, folate and vitamin B6. If your body is deficient in one or more of these nutrients, you may have trouble making enough dopamine to meet your body’s needs. Our nutritionist can help with a personalised food plan or support clients with safe supplementation.

Dopamine is an important brain chemical that influences your mood and feelings of reward and motivation. It helps regulate body movements as well. Levels are generally well regulated by the body, but there are a few diet and lifestyle changes you can make to boost your levels naturally. A balanced diet that contains adequate protein, vitamins and minerals, probiotics and a moderate amount of saturated fat can help your body produce the dopamine it needs.

Disclaimer: Information in our blogs are as accurate and comprehensive as possible. This is general advice and should not be used as a substitute for the individual advice readers might receive from consulting their own doctor. For other medical professionals reading, it is advised to use your own clinical judgement when interpreting the information and deciding how to best apply this to the treatment of their patients. Please see our terms and conditions page for further information on this.