Happiness is a rather ambiguous concept. It’s not exactly a feeling that can be easily located or recreated in every situation. And as modern-day living bears it weight, many of us find it harder and harder to carry on without sacrificing our smile. However, despite the constant trials and tribulations of contemporary life, there are certain ways in which we can turn our frowns upside down.
Inside our bodies are chemicals that carry information all the way across our nervous system, which, just so happen to also be closely associated with our moods. The chemical in question: serotonin.
Without getting too sciencey, serotonin plays an essential role in our overall health and wellbeing, and since it has a role in how our brains function, it is additionally linked with a positive mindset.
With this in mind, it is then fair to assume that reduced levels of serotonin correlate with low moods and depression. Annoyingly for us though, we cannot simply will ourselves to generate serotonin alone. Therefore, we need to actively find ways of boosting it.
However, luckily for us, we live in a world surrounded by beautiful food that’ll do just that! Nature has given us all we need to help achieve this naturally. But, in order to boost serotonin, in particular, we need to locate a key ingredient in its production – tryptophan.
This amino acid is the source you’ll be looking for. Protein-dense foods are your best bet at finding these gems of happiness, and today, my focus will be on the plant-based kind. It goes without saying that sources of meat, oily fish and eggs are going to be at the top of the list when it comes to possessing tryptophan, but what are the best vegan and vegetarian options?
Check out the list below for a rundown of nature’s finest plant-based foods rich in tryptophan and start mapping out a meal plan that will help you eat yourself happy!
- Spinach – Any dark green leafy veg should do the trick, but spinach is a bit of a superhero, so it should rightly be one of the main features in your meals. Mix it with Kale for a powerhouse duo that will not only improve your mood but also anti-age your skin! Now, who wouldn’t smile at that?
- Dried dates – Their deliciousness alone will make you smile, but did you know that eating just two of these toffee-like wonders can help reduce cholesterol as well as increase your serotonin? Impressive! Enjoy them cold-pressed as a scrummy on-the-go bar or simply grab a couple when you’re feeling an energy slump.
- Seeds – A great source of tryptophan is found in pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds. Sprinkle them together over cereal, soups and salads to give you a desirable crunch in your meals and a pleasant emotion in your feels ♥
- Nuts – Feel fuller for longer and happier more often with these wholesome little blighters! Snack on them in-between meals or add them in for a satisfying munch.
- Soy products – A good excuse to whip out the Wok and make a tofu stir-fry, wouldn’t you agree? Add an extra dose of happiness by infusing it with soy sauce and drinking soya milk while you wait!
- Oats – This clever carbohydrate is a real treat. There are many things about it that make it a wonder-carb, from keeping your full, improving your skin to steadying your energy-levels, this little golden nugget is a real treasure. Invest time in making some tasty porridge ideas or sugar-free granola concoctions for a healthy way of incorporating it into your diet.
- Dark chocolate – No need to feel an ounce of guilt for this indulgence. Take a square and chomp your way to Smilesville.
People who have a healthy, balanced diet featuring this amino acid are noted to sleep better, have greater energy levels and, of course, feel better in themselves. That’s three benefits for the price of one! You can’t argue with that.
So, if you want to know how to naturally boost your mood as well as look and feel more awesome, then hop to the grocery store and look for tryptophan-rich food today!
Happy days, indeed.