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List of Foods Rich in Tryptophan

By Max. D Gray. Updated: December 2, 2018
List of Foods Rich in Tryptophan

There are foods that actually increase our sense of wellbeing, help improve our mood and allow us to face the day with more positivity and energy. These foods are mainly those that contain high amounts of tryptophan. We are referring to an essential amino acid that is key to the release of serotonin in the body, which is popularly known as the happiness hormone. Read on at oneHOWTO to discover our list of foods rich in tryptophan that you can include in your diet from now on in order to feel much better and cast aside any sadness, melancholy, stress and negative thoughts.

You may also be interested in: Foods High in Melatonin and Tryptophan

Benefits of tryptophan

Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that the body needs to produce serotonin. This is a neurohormone that is related to an optimal state of mind, physical and emotional well-being and also greatly reduces stress levels and anxiety. Therefore, foods rich in tryptophan act as a powerful natural antidepressant, favoring an increase in the production of serotonin. Besides this, other benefits of typtophan include:

  • It helps regulate sleep: tryptophan is involved in serotonin and melatonin synthesis, both hormones necessary for the regulation of sleep and to enjoy a restorative and more fulfilling sleep.
  • It helps prevent depression and reduce symptoms of depression or chronic sadness, because, as mentioned above, it boosts serotonin levels, which is essential to experience a sense of wellbeing.
  • It has a powerful calming effect, so it is excellent for reducing the stress and strains of everyday life.
  • It fosters the production of proteins in the body, which is essential for maintaining good health.
List of Foods Rich in Tryptophan - Benefits of tryptophan

Chicken and turkey

Because of all the above benefits, it is very important to incorporate adequate intake of tryptophan into the daily diet, which ranges between 250 and 360 mg. This can be achieved by eating foods that contain high amounts of this amino acid, including those detailed below.

In the meat group, chicken and turkey stand out as the healthy options. They are a white meat rich in tryptophan and, unlike red meat, have a lower amount of fat, do not cause bad cholesterol levels to rise and provide necessary proteins to protect body health. There are many ways you can cook these meats, but it is better do it in a healthy way with little oil and without adding high fat and high-calorie foods. Good options are to prepare them grilled, baked, cooked, smoked, etc.

List of Foods Rich in Tryptophan - Chicken and turkey

Fish with tryptophan

Oily fish are also important food sources of tryptophan, so include such varieties as these in your diet: salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, trout, etc. They contain a high percentage of omega 3, an essential fatty acid used in the synthesis of serotonin and which, consequently, improves physical wellbeing, mood and concentration.

On top of this, this type of fish provide large doses of vitamins (A, B, D and E) and minerals (potassium, magnesium or calcium), so its consumption is highly recommended. Among other things, it helps to improve blood circulation, reduce bad cholesterol levels, promote cognitive functions and prevent heart diseases.

List of Foods Rich in Tryptophan - Fish with tryptophan

Vegetables and fruits with tryptophan

It is advisable to eat about 5 servings of different fruits and vegetables a day. These foods are essential for a balanced and healthy diet and have a unique nutritional composition that provide countless benefits to the body. As examples, it prevents cardiovascular diseases, degenerative diseases and some cancers, it promotes intestinal transit and the digestive process, eliminates toxins and helps in weight control, etc.

In these two food groups, you can also find ingredients with tryptophan such as:

  • Vegetables: watercress, spinach, artichokes, arugula, cabbage, asparagus, pumpkins.
  • Fruit: banana, pineapple, strawberry, avocado, papayas, mangoes.
List of Foods Rich in Tryptophan - Vegetables and fruits with tryptophan

Dairy products

Another food rich in tryptophan is milk. As mentioned above, this amino acid is responsible for synthesising the hormone melatonin, which is a substance involved in the regulation of sleep, and it promotes relaxation. It is for this reason that drinking a glass of milk before bed relaxes and helps one fall asleep. Here you have to be careful and make sure you're not lactose intolerant; otherwise, normal milk may cause you stomach problems and thus hinder your wellbeing and overnight rest.

List of Foods Rich in Tryptophan - Dairy products

Pulses with tryptophan

Vegetables are also an essential part of a balanced diet as they provide fiber, vegetable protein, vitamins and minerals needed to maintain a healthy weight, regulate iron in the body, promote processes such as digestion or connectivity of tissues, control blood pressure , etc.

Those which provide the highest quantity of tryptophan and help improve mood and general wellbeing include lentils, soybeans, chickpeas, peas and beans.

List of Foods Rich in Tryptophan - Pulses with tryptophan

Seeds, grains and nuts

Finally, we need other foods that have tryptophan and you can start upping your consumption of these too:

  • Seeds: pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, fenugreek.
  • Whole grains and oats.
  • Nuts: almonds, cashews, pistachios, pine nuts, chestnuts, sacha inchi.
List of Foods Rich in Tryptophan - Seeds, grains and nuts

This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to List of Foods Rich in Tryptophan, we recommend you visit our Healthy living category.

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