Foods with Tryptophan: What They Are and Why You Should Eat Them

falling asleep after big holiday meal


When you hear the word “tryptophan” what’s the first thing you think of? 


Dozing off after a huge turkey-filled Thanksgiving dinner, right?

But did you know there are actually several foods with tryptophan? And that you should be eating them more often than just once per year?


It’s true! Read on to find out what tryptophan is, how it benefits your body, and where you can get your hands (and taste buds) on some other foods with tryptophan.


What is tryptophan?

L-tryptophan is an “essential” amino acid.


Amino acids are protein building blocks, and “essential” amino acids are those that must be acquired from food because the body can’t make them on its own. But don’t worry, by the time you’re done reading, you’ll know exactly where to find some.


Why is tryptophan so important?

Tryptophan has gotten a bad rap for being the snooze-inducer after a great holiday meal. But it actually serves important purposes, like:

  • The development and functioning of many organs in our bodies
  • Nitrogen balance in adults
  • Growth in infants
  • Creation of niacin (also known as vitamin B3), which is essential for metabolizing serotonin (one of our happy hormones) 


The potential increase of serotonin made from the tryptophan could lead to some pretty awesome health benefits, including: 

  • Better quality sleep
  • Boosted moods
  • Stress reduction
  • Increased pain tolerance
  • Headache reduction
  • Cravings control
  • Weight management… and more!

Sounds pretty good, right? As you can see, there’s more than the payoff of a great nap after you have a tryptophan-filled meal.

Foods with Tryptophan

Turns out Tom Turkey isn’t the only tryptophan-sporting bird on the block. There are lots of other foods with tryptophan that you can eat daily.

  • Chickenpumpkin seeds high in tryptophan Eggs
  • Fish
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Flax seeds
  • Almonds
  • Turkey
  • Beans and lentils 
  • Healthy Chocolate

All of the foods above are recommended in my challenges and in the Fit Rise 365 lifestyle. No wonder our tribe always raves about how great they feel!


Their serotonin levels are getting a healthy boost!


And speaking of… if it’s a boost you’re after — either post-meal or for a midday pick-me-up — I think you’ll love Cacao Bliss. Cacao Bliss is my healthy, delicious, superfood blend featuring raw cacao (which also contains tryptophan). You can mix it in nut milk for a decadent hot chocolate or create some sweet treats like peanut butter cups and brownies. Yum!


Deliciousness PLUS tryptophan? Where do we sign?


What is your favorite food with tryptophan? Share in the comments below!

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Danette May - The Truth Behind Tryptophan