People are more kind and charitable after eating eggs, says a new study.
Tryptophan (TRP), an amino acid found in eggs, facilitated this by producing more serotonin, a neuro-transmitter that plays a huge role in the regulation of mood and sleep.
As the body cannot produce tryptophan, it is acquired through consumption of foods like chicken, cheese, eggs, fish, milk, soy, turkey, tofu, nuts and peanuts.
The study included 32 people, both men (4) and women (28), aged around 22. As part of their study, researchers from the Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition in Netherlands divided the participants into two equal groups of 14 females and two males.
Each group received either 0.8 grams of TRP, which is equal to the amount of amino acid found in three eggs, or placebo in 200ml of orange juice. Researchers measured mood, heart rate, blood pressure before and after the participants took the juice. Participants received 10 Euros (one 5-Euro note, two 1-Euro coins, and six 50-cent coins) as their participation fees and were asked whether they wanted to donate their money for charity.
People in the TRP group donated more money (1.00 euro) than the placebo (0.47 euro) group.
"The present study is the first to show that TRP promotes charitable donating, an important element of prosocial behaviour," the authors wrote. "Our results support the materialist approach that "you are what you eat"—the idea that the food one eats has a bearing on one's state of mind. The food we eat may thus act as a cognitive enhancer that modulates the way we deal with the "social" world."
The study has been reported in Frontiers in Cognition.
Tryptophan, according to the Medline Plus, helps in healthy growth during infancy. It also helps maintain the balance of nitrogen in adulthood.
Like tryptophan, another nutrient found in egg yolk called choline, is known to protect babies against mental illness.