Food and Dopamine
You must have noticed yourself; the strong connection between food and dopamine, the brain’s feel good chemical. It’s dopamine that makes us feel good, helps control weight, energy levels and also supports the health of our brain and heart.
Do you recognize any of these symptoms in yourself:
- Lack of drive, enthusiasm
- Trouble waking up in the morning
- Feeling depressed or bored
- Cold hands and/or feet
- Low sex drive
- Mental and physical fatigue
- Struggling to complete tasks
- Lack of focus or concentration
- Sugar and carbohydrate cravings.
Food and Dopamine
If you do, then a boost to your dopamine levels may be what you need.
As you can no doubt imagine, without dopamine, we’d probably be more fat, more unhappy and more tired.
But here’s the thing. If you knew how to take advantage of this important chemical that your body produces just by eating certain foods. Wouldn’t you want to increase your dopamine levels? Tired, unhappy, fat; those are words that seem to describe many of us these days. Well dopamine could be the thing that helps us get past that. Generating the right amount of dopamine could in fact help lift people out of depressions, help them lose weight and help get their ‘mojo’ back!
Without dopamine, we’d probably be more fat, more unhappy and more tired.
So how can we naturally boost our dopamine levels? Well it turns out that quite simply, there are certain foods we can eat that will help boost the production of dopamine in our bodies. These include, probably not surprisingly, many of the healthy foods we currently eat:
Eggs, fish, apples, bananas, red beets, kale, strawberries, blueberries, green tea, spirulina and last but not least dark chocolate; which, whilst not everyone’s favorite is much better for us than milk chocolate.
Another method that can help us boost the dopamine in our bodies in a natural way is working out. As we know exercise is generally recommended for all of us, because when we exercise, the cells in our amazing brains get more energized, and produce more dopamine – crucial to mood elevation – which, if you’ve exercised you might recognize in yourself.
How can we do this? Here’s some general guidelines that we can follow:
- Eat regular meals. This will prevent a sudden swing in hormones and help to regulate your appetite. It also reduces the chance of overeating in the evening.
- Try eating more lean protein at breakfast, especially foods like eggs, smoked salmon, mackerel, or high-protein yogurt with added nuts, seeds or fruit.
- Restrict starchy carbohydrates, but aim for low-GI carbohydrates like you find in porridge.
- Choose healthy fats such as those found in olive, safflower, sesame or rapeseed oils in addition to avocado, walnuts, flaxseeds and oily fish such as herring, fresh tuna.
- Include lean protein foods at lunch and dinner by eating chicken, lentils, pulses, fish, or lean beef.
- Increase the amount of activity you do as this can also increase dopamine levels.
- Above all, keep it simple by looking at the quality of foods you eat and reduce processed salty foods, keep sugary treats to a minimum and make sure you’re eating your five-a-day!
[Any health content on figandpickle.com is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local health care provider.]