The secret to naturally boosting serotonin levels in the brain may include eating foods such as pumpkin seeds, with a high tryptophan-to-total protein ratio. This may help explain why studies show that those eating plant-based diets have superior mood states.
This is the final video of a four-part series (mentioned in Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death) on natural ways to boost serotonin in the brain. In Human Neurotransmitters in Plants, we saw that plants themselves can contain serotonin. The Wrong Way to Boost Serotonin was a cautionary tale about tryptophan supplements. And, A Better Way to Boost Serotonin covered the role carbs can play in boosting tryptophan transport into the brain. The findings of better mood scores in those eating vegetarian is consistent with both cross-sectional studies (see Plant-Based Diet & Mood) and interventional studies (see Improving Mood Through Diet), which I’ve covered previously. The reason I report more data on nuts than seeds is a function of the greater access of researchers to funding on nuts (thanks to producer groups). From what little data we have, though, I have a feeling it’s like the soy versus other beans story (see Soy Worth a Hill of Beans). If I had to guess, I’d bet that, in general, seeds may be even healthier than nuts. And, since I encourage daily nut consumption, I’d add seeds to that recommendation as well. If only researchers had more seed money! :)
For more context, check out my associated blog posts: How To Boost Serotonin Naturally, Top 10 Most Popular Videos of the Year, Saffron vs. Prozac for Depression, and Treating Parkinson’s Disease With Diet.