Does Eating Bananas Improve Your Mood? - Deepstash

Many of the foods we eat naturally contain serotonin. Bananas are a prime example of nutritious food that may help promote the mood-boosting benefits of serotonin.

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If a diet inadequate in vitamin B6 is contributing to low levels of serotonin, dietary changes may help—but that doesn’t mean eating one banana a day will be enough to improve your mood.

  • Adults (ages 19–50), the RDA of vitamin B6 is 1.3 mg. A single medium banana has 0.4 mg (about 20% of the RDA).
  • According to the USDA, one medium banana has around 3.1 grams of fiber, or 12% of the recommended daily value.

Bananas are a source of potassium, supporting cells in nerves, the heart and other muscles. Having too little potassium in your diet can contribute to health problems, e.g. hypertension.

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  • You can get vitamin B6 from several protein sources, including beef liver, yellowfin tuna, salmon, and chicken breast.
  • Carbohydrate sources of vitamin B6 include fortified cereals and potatoes. A cup of boiled spuds has as much vitamin B6 as a medium-sized banana.
  • Several B6-rich foods also contain serotonin, such as fish and poultry. Turkey also contains another key nutrient for mood: an amino acid called tryptophan. 

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Tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin produced in the brain (the body can’t make the neurotransmitter without it).

Another important compound, 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP), also uses tryptophan.8  If the body is making too little, 5-HTP can also be taken as a nutritional supplement .

Research has shown that when paired with antidepressants, the supplement may be able to help ease symptoms of depression9 (however, additional research and clinical trials are needed to strengthen these claims10 ). 

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Along with bananas, turkey, and chickpeas, there are many other foods that are natural sources of serotonin, as well as the other key nutrients the body needs to produce the neurotransmitter, such as:11

  • Oily, fatty fish (such as tuna and mackerel) 
  • Nuts and seeds (especially walnuts and flaxseeds)
  • Beans (such as kidney, pinto, and black beans)
  • Fresh produce (such as leafy green vegetables like spinach or kale)
  • Probiotic/fermented foods (such as kefir, yogurt, and tofu)

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