Keep Canned Tuna In Your Pantry For A Shelf-Stable Serotonin Boost

We could all use more serotonin in our lives. The world can be a cruel, uncaring, crushing sort of place — this is, after all, the world where Mondays exist. And as the chemical most responsible for shielding your subconscious mind from the horrors of basic existence along with dopamine, serotonin is in high demand. While a lot of people get that serotonin boost from pharmaceuticals (and there's nothing wrong with that), some folks might be on the lookout for alternative methods of boosting their mood.

But can you achieve that mood boost with the pop of a tin? What products exist that can help your serotonin levels without requiring a doctor's prescription? One of the easiest ways to give yourself a nice pop of that sweet, sweet brain-boosting chemical comes from one of the most common, basic products you can keep in your pantry. 

The product in question? Canned tuna.

Eating canned tuna can boost serotonin levels

Like some other fish, tuna is rich in tryptophan. You might be familiar with tryptophan as the thing in turkey that makes you sleepy at Thanksgiving (even if that's only partially accurate), but poultry is hardly the only product that contains the chemical. 

Tryptophan is linked to increased serotonin and melatonin, meaning it's great for stress relief. And while you can get that sort of boost from a lot of fish (salmon is another great source), canned tuna is a common, shelf-stable source of that good brain juice.

Both oil- and water-packed tuna have their uses; oil-packed tuna is excellent in salads, for example. But when it comes to health boosts, you'll want to reach for water-based tuna. Draining the oil from tuna causes some of the omega-3 fatty acids to drain out, while draining water leaves them intact. Still, both are good for that serotonin boost.

Plenty of canned foods are good for your health

We tend to look down on canned products in the information age. Canned vegetables, in particular, aren't typically held in high regard, as anyone who's ever been subjected to canned green beans knows. But there are plenty of canned food items that are perfectly good. Fruit is the best example, but it's hardly the only one.

It's genuinely surprising that canned seafood tends to be very good, but it's true. Anchovies are among the best-known (aside from canned tuna, of course). The canned variety tends to show up far more often than the fresh kind (though both are delicious). Canned salmon can work in a variety of dishes, especially croquettes, and it provides the amount of tryptophan as canned tuna. And canned clams are virtually indistinguishable from fresh ones in pasta dishes. 

If you're sleeping on canned products, you may want to rethink your grocery game.