Did you know that grass-fed beef is one of the top ten sources of tryptophan?

by Carolyn Matthews

I have to confess that I didn’t know that grass fed beef is on the top ten list for sources of tryptophan…I always think of turkey. Tryptophan is the amino acid that goes on to become serotonin, the “feel-good” hormone which is low in depression, and melatonin, which helps us sleep at night.

Other sources besides grass fed beef and turkey: lamb, chicken, tuna, pumpkin seeds, eggs, crab, cheese, and spirulina.

In addition to getting enough tryptophan in your diet, it is important to pursue lifestyle strategies to minimize inflammation, because when inflammatory pathways are turned on, the tryptophan gets hijacked down an inflammatory pathway to make kynurenine and quinolinic acid, leading to lower serotonin levels and increased anxiety and depression.

Some anti-inflammatory strategies:

  1. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep nightly
  2. Eat of variety of vegetables every day
  3. Try to get some form of exercise daily
  4. Avoid processed foods
  5. Avoid foods fried or cooked at high temperature
  6. Avoid added sugar
  7. Use herbs and spices wherever possible in your cooking
  8. Consume more omega 3 fats

Carolyn M. Matthews, MD