L-Tryptophan Rich Foods

Tryptophan is an essential amino acid, meaning that it cannot be created by the human body and must be obtained from dietary sources. Foods high in tryptophan are essential for people who suffer from a number of conditions including depression, anxiety disorders, sleep problems, and chronic pain. You may also want to find out how much l-tryptophan you need on a daily basis. In this blog post we will discuss 12 foods highest in tryptophan which can provide your diet with the nutrients needed to maintain good health!

what is tryptophan and why is it important?

Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that our body cannot make on its own. It helps regulate sleep, appetite, and mood by being a precursor of the neurotransmitter serotonin which has been linked to depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, and migraines. Foods highest in tryptophan are often high in protein or fat content as well because these nutrients help with the breakdown of proteins into amino acids so they can be used more efficiently for cell growth and repair including brain cells.

Tryptophan levels have also been shown to increase whenever someone eats spicy foods due to their ability to activate sensory nerves that release feel-good endorphins like dopamine from areas such as the nucleus accumbens (NAcc) region of your brain where the brain’s pleasure center is located.

Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that you cannot make yourself, and is part of the protein found in many foods. Foods highest in tryptophan are often high in protein or fat content as well because these nutrients help with the breakdown of proteins into amino acids so they can be used more efficiently for cell growth and repair including brain cells.

Acute tryptophan depletion has been shown to result not only less serotonin but also lower levels of tryptophan in the blood, which can lead to a drop in mood. This depletion also leads to an increase in levels of its metabolic byproduct kynurenine and is associated with increased feelings of anxiety or dysphoria.

Tryptophan supplements are a popular option for increasing tryptophan levels and relieving the symptoms of depression in patients diagnosed with affective disorder, though they may not be appropriate if you’re taking antidepressants or other drugs which increase serotonin synthesis/release.

Those who suffer from severe cases of clinical depression can take l-tryptophan pills to help them cope with their condition as well. Tryptophan’s effects on mood are largely dependant on how much has been consumed; it’s important for people to know that supplementation does not have any immediate effect but rather takes a few days to build up before there is increased production of serotonin by your body.

List of Top 12 High Tryptophan Foods

L-tryptophan is an amino acid that’s found in many foods, and it can provide numerous health benefits. Foods with a high level of l-tryptophan include:

Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are a great option for those who want a variety of l-tryptophan rich foods. One ounce of pumpkin seeds contains around 1200 mg of l-tryptophan. Also, pumpkin seeds are a great source of other essential nutrients such as magnesium, zinc, and vitamin E.


Eggs are another great source of l-tryptophan. One egg contains around 198 mg of l-tryptophan, and they’re an excellent choice for those who want to limit their consumption of animal products.


A tuna is a wonderful option for anyone looking to get high levels of tryptophan from foods that are higher in protein. A tuna sandwich with only two ounces will provide over 200mg of tryptophan, as well as essential nutrients such as omega-­‐three fatty acids and vitamin B12.

Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese is another great option for those who want a variety of l-tryptophan rich foods. One cup of cottage cheese provides about 400mg of l-tryptophan.


Almonds are a great source of vitamin E, omega fatty acids, and protein as well as tryptophan which is an essential amino acid that helps to reduce symptoms associated with depression. One cup of almonds provides around 210mg of l-tryptophan.


Lentils are a great source of protein, vitamin B, and iron in addition to tryptophan which is shown to help with depression symptoms. One cup of lentil provides around 318mg of l-tryptophan.


Oatmeal can be a healthy choice for breakfast because oats provide not only soluble fiber but also contain high levels of l-tryptophan which helps regulate moods and sleep cycles by boosting serotonin levels without the side effects sometimes seen with prescription drugs. A quarter cup serving contains 98 mg worth of nutrients found in oats including

Turkey Meat

Turkey meat is high in protein and provides plenty of tryptophan to fuel your day–especially if you’re eating lean turkey breast as opposed to dark meat which can be higher in fat content. A three ounce serving size will give you around 11 grams l-tryptophan.


Milk is a great choice to help you meet your calcium needs and provide some tryptophan for mood regulation. After all, it does contain l-tryptophan which helps regulate serotonin levels in the body–especially if it’s low fat or skim milk as opposed to whole milk that can be higher in protein content.


Bananas are an excellent source of potassium–which regulates fluids within the cells and tissues of our bodies including those found inside our brains. One banana provides around 440mg worth of l-tryptophan with about two grams of protein and it also contains vitamin B-12 which is important for mood regulation.

Peanuts and peanut butter

Peanuts are a good source of l-tryptophan and protein, though they’re also high in calories. One ounce (about 28 grams) provides around two grams of tryptophan with three to four grams of protein.


Beef is one excellent source for l-tryptophan due to it’s rich amino acid content that help regulate moods–though red meat can be bad for your heart health so its important as always to keep an eye on how much you eat per day or week. A typical serving size provides about 12 milligrams worth of tryptophan which is equivalent to the amount found in turkey breast.


Tryptophan is an amino acid that helps control your mood and sleep cycles. It can also help regulate serotonin levels in the body, which makes it a big part of many people’s diet plans to relieve depression or anxiety symptoms. This blog post has some great suggestions for foods high in tryptophan you can add to your daily life if you are looking for more ways to make yourself feel better naturally! Check out our list below if this sounds like something up your alley. What do you think? Let us know what other tricks have worked well for you at home too!