The influence of food on our mood has been known for millennia. There are many ways regarding how food can make you happier. Certain foods activate the production of hormones of happiness – dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphin.

Serotonin is one of four major “hormones of happiness”. Biochemically derived from tryptophan, serotonin is primarily found in the gastrointestinal tract (about 90% of the human body’s total serotonin is located there), blood platelets, and the central nervous system. Serotonin is popularly thought to be a contributor to feelings of well-being and happiness. It regulates mood, appetite, and sleep. Serotonin also has some cognitive functions, including memory and learning. Modulation of serotonin at synapses is thought to be a major action of several classes of pharmacological antidepressants.

Serotonin is synthesized from the essential amino acid L-tryptophan. The recommended daily intake for tryptophan is 4mg per kilogram of body weight (1.8mg per pound). So, a person weighing 70kg (about 154 pounds) should consume approximately 280mg of tryptophan per day. Below is a list of the top 10 foods highest in tryptophan which is presented as amount of milligrams per 100 grams of food with the percentage of recommended daily intake Daily Value – % DV.

Top 10 foods rich in tryptophan to make you happy

576mg of tryptophan per 100g (206% DV), or 161mg of tryptophan per ounce (28g) (58% DV)

575mg of tryptophan per 100g (205% DV), or 161mg of tryptophan per ounce (28g) (57% DV)

On average, 560mg of tryptophan per 100g (about 200% DV), or 150mg of tryptophan per ounce (28g) (about 50% DV)

415mg of tryptophan per 100g (148% DV)

404mg of tryptophan per 100g (144% DV)

335mg of tryptophan per 100g (120% DV)

335mg of tryptophan per 100g (120% DV)

330mg of tryptophan per 100g (118% DV)

167mg of tryptophan per 100g (60% DV), or 84mg (30% DV) per egg (50g)

 

115mg of tryptophan per 100g (41% DV)

 

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