Diet & Nutrition 4 MIN READ 156 VIEWS December 18, 2022

Feeling Low? Here are 5 Foods That Increase Dopamine

Written By HealthKart

Foods That Increase Dopamine

What we consume in a day significantly affects the production of several hormones and many body functions. Hence, we need to be careful of the food we eat daily. One such hormone is dopamine. Dopamine plays a key role in how one feels pleasure. It is a huge part of the uniquely human ability to plan, think, and be happy. It helps one to focus, strive, and find things exciting and interesting. Before we learn about the foods that boost dopamine, it is important to understand what dopamine is and what role it plays!

What is Dopamine?

Dopamine is a type of hormone that is made in the adrenal glands of our body. It is a neurotransmitter that our body produces, and the nervous system in our body uses it to deliver messages among nerve cells. This is why it is often called a chemical messenger.

Too little or too much of it can lead to a huge series of health problems. Some issues can get serious over time, like Parkinson’s disease. Others are comparatively less severe.

A low level of dopamine can make a person unhappy, tired, unfocused, and unmotivated. Low dopamine levels can also cause mood swings, sleep difficulties, memory loss, low sex drive, and poor concentration.

How is Dopamine Produced?

Dopamine is produced from the amino acids phenylalanine and tyrosine, both of which can be acquired from foods that are loaded with protein. 

At first, tyrosine is transformed into another amino acid, known as L-dopa. Then the amino acid L-dopa goes through another transformation, as enzymes convert it into natural dopamine It can badly affect many physical functions and parts of our behaviour, such as:

  • Learning
  • Heart rate
  • Kidney function
  • Blood vessel function
  • Motivation
  • Sleep
  • Mood
  • Lactation
  • Pain processing
  • Attention
  • Movement
  • Control of vomiting and nausea 

Recently, evidence has shown that overweight people might face damage to dopamine pathways which might have been weakened through continuous exposure to extremely palatable foods, like fatty and sugary foods. The weakened response can eventually lead to overeating including other increased reward-seeking behaviour. 

Foods That Increase Dopamine

Dopamine is naturally produced in our body but we still can increase dopamine production by consuming protein-enriched foods. The following are the foods that will help to increase dopamine naturally:

Foods Enriched with Vitamin B

When the body receives low amounts of B vitamins, it becomes unable to produce a satisfactory level of dopamine. Vitamin B6 is a key regulator of several neurotransmitters in the body, including serotonin, dopamine, GABA, and melatonin.

Fortunately, most of the B vitamins can be obtained easily from foods. One can obtain B vitamins from the following food sources:

  • Eggs: A good source of B vitamins is eggs. Be it hard-boiled, scrambled, or omelettes, adding eggs to your diet can help to maintain your dopamine production. You can have eggs any time of the day without getting bored with them.
  • Salmon fish: Salmon is another great source of B vitamins, especially B6 and B12. Consuming this fish can help to reduce depression as it stimulates the production of dopamine in the body.
  • Liver: The liver is loaded with B vitamins, whether it is beef, lamb, chicken, or pork liver. The liver contains about 90 percent of B12 vitamins.
  • Dairy products: Dairy products are also good for increasing dopamine production as they are rich in the good amino acid L-tyrosine. You can add yogurt, and milk to your diet, or you can also enjoy some ice cream or cheese to get your daily dose of the amino acid L-tyrosine.
  • Nuts and Seeds: Nuts and seeds are foods with dopamine that are good for boosting dopamine production in our bodies. This is because they are loaded with L-tyrosine, which is also known as tyrosine. This tyrosine is later converted into dopamine in the body. Almonds, sesame seeds, peanuts, and pumpkin seeds are great sources of tyrosine. 
  • Chocolate: You might be surprised to know that chocolate is good for maintaining dopamine production in the body. This is because chocolate has a little amount of PEA or phenylethylamine, a compound that sends signals to the brain to release dopamine. PEA is also associated with the feeling of love. Take a bite of chocolate after meals to get your daily phenylethylamine.
  • Coffee: Another food good for a dopamine boost is coffee. Coffee can help to increase dopamine levels in the body as caffeine gives a signal to the body to produce extra dopamine. One can get similar benefits from other sources such as green tea, matcha, chocolate, and other forms of caffeine.

Other Ways to Boost the Production of Dopamine

One can increase their natural dopamine production by getting enough exposure to sunlight, getting daily sleep, and exercising regularly.

Spending quality time with loved ones, playing with pets, watching a movie, or reading a book can also increase dopamine release. In a nutshell, involve yourself in activities that make you feel happy naturally.

Foods to Avoid

Sugary products and junk food can lead to an excessive release of dopamine or other hormones in the body, like serotonin. Although this is not at all an excellent way to increase dopamine levels, it provides you with a feeling of euphoria and makes you want to eat more. 

This leads to obesity and obesity. Most dopamine diets suggest avoiding caffeine, alcohol, processed sugars, starchy carbohydrates, and saturated fat.

Conclusion

With the help of the foods mentioned above, you can easily increase your dopamine level. Dopamine is also known as “happy hormones”. It also plays a crucial role in the functioning of several actions in our brain and body. Therefore, it is essential to maintain the right level of dopamine in our bodies.

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