The serotonin secret: Eat right and be happy

Happiness-boosting foodsIf you’re happy and you know it … you probably have plenty of serotonin in your body! Serotonin is a chemical neurotransmitter that plays an important role in your mood, memory and how well you sleep. Not having enough of it can make you restless, moody, tired and depressed. While there are a lot of ways to boost your serotonin levels, one of the more fun ones is to eat specific types of foods. That’s because certain amino acids, minerals and vitamins can up your levels naturally. For example:

  • The amino acid tryptophan is known for causing post-Thanksgiving drowsiness, but it can also lift your spirits. Tryptophan is the precursor to serotonin and boosts the amount of serotonin your brain can produce. Some good places to find it: turkey, fish, chicken, cottage cheese, nuts, egg whites, beans and avocados.
  • Every organ in the body needs magnesium, but this nutrient is also important for converting tryptophan into serotonin. Magnesium-rich foods include kale, spinach, brown rice, quinoa, yogurt, bananas, figs, cherries and dark chocolate.
  • Vitamin C is also necessary to produce serotonin. Foods high in vitamin C include oranges, pineapple, strawberries, bell peppers, chili peppers, kale, broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts.

Now, put it all together by preparing this healthy meal featuring some Michigan foods. Afterwards you’ll be feeling full and happy!

Entrée: Cherry Glazed Salmon

Sides: Brown Rice and Quinoa along with some steamed broccoli and bell peppers

Dessert: Strawberry Shortcake (substitute Greek yogurt for the sour cream to make it healthier and lower in fat)


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Photo credit: Taku

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