The two key components in bananas are vitamin B-6 and tryptophan. Separately, they work to reduce depressive symptoms, and together, they form a dynamic duo of brain chemistry to send you tons of positive vibes.
Of course, depression is about more than just needing more positivity or “feeling sad” and medication should never be ditched and replaced with bananas (certainly not without first consulting a medical professional). Depression comes from altered brain chemistry involving a lack of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that impacts mood and behavior. Many antidepressants work by decreasing the rate at which serotonin is reabsorbed by neurons, leaving more of the neurotransmitter available in the synaptic cleft to transmit signals, while other directly increase the production of serotonin in the brain.
However, antidepressants can be pricey. Not to mention the fact that they can cause a number of undesirable side effects such as insomnia, loss of sexual desire, and weight gain.
Serotonin is produced naturally when the body encounters tryptophan. This makes bananas, which are loaded with the stuff, an ideal snack if you want to kick up the serotonin levels in your brain.
The other key component of bananas is vitamin B-6. This category of vitamin plays a crucial role in your mood and stress levels. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Low levels of B vitamins such as vitamin B-6 and folate may be linked to depression.”
Rip one open and you’re peeling away layers of negativity, in addition to providing yourself with a healthy sweet treat. Cooking and other forms of self-care have also been linked to a decrease in depressive symptoms.