A. Shrimp – 20%
B. Walnuts – 50%
C. Broccoli – 23%
D. Watermelon – 5%
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Tryptophan is an amino acid that is necessary for serotonin production. The cannot make tryptophan so it's up to us to include it in our diet. Serotonin is one of the feel-good hormones. When serotonin levels are balanced you feel good, are in a good mood, and can sleep better. Tryptophan is also used by the body to make B vitamins necessary for skin health and digestion.
Dr. Rovenia Brock, nutrition coach, shared her Worry-Free diet plan on the 3/13/12 episode of the Dr. Oz Show. Dr. Ro broke down the diet into four categories of food that should be eaten every day. Category #2 of the Worry-Free Diet is tryptophan to create an even mood throughout the day. Dr. Ro mentioned shrimp, salmon, bananas, low-sodium soy sauce, pumpkin seeds, and kale as good sources of tryptophan.
The best food sources of tryptophan are animal, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Fruits have little to no tryptophan.
Turkey gets all the credit for being a tryptophan power-house and the cause of many a half-time naps on Thanksgiving. Turkey comes in at between 350 – 390mg of tryptophan per 4 ounce serving. There are several foods that come close to turkey in tryptophan counts.
ShrimpA good source of omega-3 fatty acids, shrimp are also a good source of tryptophan. According to LiveStrong.com, shrimp contain 330mg per 4 ounce serving.
WalnutsFull of fiber and health fats, walnuts come in with over 50mg of tryptophan in a ¼ cup serving. Walnuts are a great snack to help support blood sugar as well as mood.
BroccoliBroccoli is a good plant-source of tryptophan and is full of antioxidants too.
WatermelonIt's bright red fruit indicates it's full of lycopene, an antioxidant that is beneficial to the health of blood vessels, the eyes, and the prostate.
Photo credit: Tom Curtis