foods that boost serotonin
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6 Foods That Stimulate Serotonin And Literally Make You Happy

From turkey to pumpkin seeds.

With daylight savings in full swing, the word ‘salad’ brings a big fat sigh, moan and groan when moving into the cooler months.
But we’re here to tell you a happy salad exists. Yes, Naturopath Jessica Gorman says incorporating serotonin-fueled key ingredients in our salads this season, is a promised way to put a smile on our lunch-time faces. What is serotonin you ask Jessica reveals “It’s a neurotransmitter manufactured by our bodies to help regulate our mood and a deficiency is associated with anxiety and low mood.”

So if you’re keen on fueling your body with happiness, check out the Gorman Naturopathy-approved happy salad checklist. Written by Siobhan Wend, this list is perfect for transitioning your nutrition into Fall. Keep reading to learn more!

Metabolism boosting
Image: Courtesy of Maddi Bazzocco via Unsplash

6 Foods That Stimulate Serotonin And Literally Make You Happy

1) Turkey

Turkey is high in protein, in particular, the amino acid tryptophan. Tryptophan is needed to make serotonin and cannot be produced in the human body. To keep smiling, it’s important to incorporate tryptophan-containing foods into your diet.
Additionally, turkey is also high in the minerals magnesium, zinc and Vitamins B3, B6 and folate which, along with tryptophan, are all needed to make serotonin in our bodies.

2) Spinach

Popeye was right again! These leafy greens are a great source of magnesium, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6 and folate.

3) Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese, like turkey, is high in protein, especially the amino acid tryptophan. It also contains folate and magnesium.

4) Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are high in zinc, magnesium, tryptophan and also contain folate.

5) Avocado

It’s no surprise that our good friend avocado makes the list. Yes, avocados are rich in magnesium and are much-needed for serotonin production.

6) Brown Rice

Brown rice is magnesium dense, the essential mineral assists in relaxing muscles and nerves. Below is a heart serotonin salad you can make for some good vibes.

Mediterranean-Inspired, Keto-Friendly Egg Zoodle Recipe
Image: Courtesy of Australian Eggs

Hearty Serotonin Salad


  • 1 cup of brown rice
  • ½ avocado
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds
  • 3 cups of spinach leaves
  • 100g roast turkey breast
  • 1 tablespoon cottage cheese
  • 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • 1 chopped spring onion


  1. Add spinach leaves and chopped spring onion to a salad bowl.
  2. Rinse brown rice well to avoid gluggy consistency. Cook and let cool before sprinkling over spinach leaves.
  3. Roast turkey breast and shred with two forks. Add to bowl.
  4. Roughly smash avocado with a fork and add on top of turkey.
  5. Swirl cayenne pepper roughly through cottage cheese and add on top of smashed avocado.
  6. Toast pumpkin seeds by heating them in a dry pan until slightly browned and aromatic. Sprinkle over salad.


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