Top Foods to Boost Serotonin Naturally

Long-haired woman with a big and beautiful smile

That "Money can't buy happiness" is arguable. But there's growing evidence that you can biohack your way to better health and wellness. Biohacking is an increasingly popular self-efficacious biotechnological movement that leverages the workings of your body to achieve an optimal quality of life. For instance, did you know that frigid water can improve mental health or that Vibrance BPC treatment can age your vagina backward? And get this—you can actually eat your way to greater joy! 

The key is to consume nutritious edibles that are both sustaining and satisfying. And the latest buzz is that certain foods can enhance bliss biochemically. In this article, we'll explore how you can naturally ramp up your happiness factor with strategically selected foods to boost serotonin levels.

What is serotonin?

Serotonin is one of the happy hormones, along with Oxytocin, Dopamine, and Endorphins. The chemical works as a neurotransmitter, relaying signals across the nervous system. It helps regulate mood, sexual desire and function, memory, stress response, sleep, digestion, body temperature, and social functioning. Adequate serotonin in our system can make us more joyful, calmer, and emotionally stable. Thus, a low supply of the feel-good substance can lead to depression and anxiety.

Fortunately, there are several ways of amping up serotonin in your system, such as exercising and meditation. But obviously, the most delicious method is indulging in foods to boost serotonin naturally.

Foods to boost serotonin

Perhaps you can compare serotonin to tiramisu. Before the desert can delight your senses, it has to have just the right stack of ingredients. You'll need coffee-dipped ladyfingers, mascarpone cheese, cream, eggs, sugar, and cocoa powder to create a perfectly dreamy concoction. Without these components working in perfect harmony, you may end up with a sub-par tiramisu.

The same is true of serotonin production. While the main building block in creating serotonin is tryptophan, you can’t disregard carbs, a healthy gut, and red light therapy. Doing so may deliver less than optimal doses of serotonin.

1. Tryptophan-rich foods  

Although tryptophan is the least plentiful amino acid in the human body, it plays an essential role in many metabolic functions. Studies show that the brain uses tryptophan to synthesize serotonin. This has vast implications for our ability to influence mood and trigger positive behaviors. Fortunately, we can increase our tryptophan supply by consuming foods that are abundant with the amino acid:

  • Turkey and chicken
  • Salmon
  • Dark green leafy veggies (like Spinach)
  • Eggs
  • Seeds (add to salad or cereals for vegans or vegetarians)
  • Watercress
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Peas

2. Foods for a healthy gut

Although serotonin is produced in the brain, our gastrointestinal tract and blood platelets store 90% of it. Thus, keeping our digestive system healthy with prebiotics and probiotics is critical to serotonin production. 

Prebiotics are a kind of dietary fiber that "pump" your gut with beneficial bacteria. These bacteria manufacture nutrients that improve digestion and strengthen the immune system. On the other hand, probiotics are live bacteria that help digest food and fight disease-causing microorganisms. Bolster gut health with these prebiotic- and probiotic-rich foods:

Illustration of DNA and bacteria

Prebiotic foods

  • Chicory Root 
  • Garlic
  • Jerusalem Artichoke
  • Dandelion Greens
  • Leeks
  • Asparagus
  • Onions

Probiotic foods

  • Yogurt
  • Kimchi
  • Kombucha
  • Pickles
  • Sauerkraut
  • Kefir

3. Pro-serotonin carbs

Consuming carbs increases the secretion of insulin, which can generate the raw materials for tryptophan. It also causes the serotonin-critical amino acids to remain longer in the bloodstream, making them free to travel to the brain. The rise of tryptophan then stimulates the creation of serotonin. 

But don't just gobble up any carb! Steer clear of processed and refined carbs that don't have any nutritional value. These include white bread, white pasta, white rice, baked products, sweets, and sugary drinks. Instead, go for the following nutrient-dense carbs:

  • Quinoa
  • Beets
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Oats
  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Lentils
  • Garbanzo and kidney beans

4. Foods to maximize serotonin-boosting red light therapy

Red light therapy is a cutting-edge treatment that recreates the sun's healing powers. Through its low wavelengths, red light can bring about a gamut of benefits, from stimulating collagen production to enhancing blood circulation. Research also reveals that near-infrared or red light can stimulate blood flow to the brain and strengthen neuroprotection and repair. Thus, the medical community also uses it to treat diseases, including brain disorders.

While exposure to the sun can increase serotonin levels, red light therapy can mimic the beneficial effects of natural light without any of the harmful risks from UVA and UVB rays. Red light also enhances the quality of sleep, boosting serotonin production. Read on to discover what foods can give you the best results from red light therapy.

Before using red light therapy

Red light works on the mitochondria or the power plants in our cells to generate energy. With more energy, the cells can better function to self-repair and regenerate. So how can we ensure that our bodies will be in their best state to receive all the healing advantages of red light?

Studies show that sufficiently hydrated living organisms (including humans!) become more responsive to red light. Thus, if our cells are flush with moisture, they can better soak in all the amazing benefits of phototherapy. Keep your body hydrated by enjoying these water-rich goodies:

  • Watermelon
  • Strawberries/ Blackberries/ Blueberries/ Raspberries
  • Cucumber
  • Lettuce
  • Cantaloupe
  • Zucchini
  • Celery
  • Tomatoes
  • Bell peppers
  • Cauliflower

After using red light therapy

Red light therapy is one component of a holistic plan that includes eating a healthful diet. Our bodies' defenses are already hardwired against diseases. Bolster them with superfoods that protect your DNA, activate your immune system, and feed your inner ecosystem:

  • Green tea
  • Dark chocolate
  • Chlorella
  • Broccoli
  • Oysters
  • Elderberry/Acai berry
  • Mushrooms
  • Miso
  • Pomegranate juice
  • Ginger
  • Turmeric
  • Olive oil

Boosting a serotonin-loving diet with wellness tools

Get the perfect serotonin dose with the best light therapy from HigherDOSE. HigherDOSE's Infrared, PEMF, and Red Light devices enable you to supercharge your self-care and holistic recovery. Our wellness tools, such as the HigherDOSE Red Light Face Mask and HigherDOSE Infrared Sauna Blanket, use nature-inspired technologies so you can detox your body, relax your mind, and boost your mood. With HigherDOSE, you can safely and naturally get a grip on a "lighter" state of being.

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