The brain’s feel good chemical is called dopamine, which sends feelings of well-being and pleasure into your body.
Apart from dopamine making you feel good, it helps with weight control, energy levels and it also supports brain and heart health. Without it, we would feel unhappy, tired and perhaps overweight.
The good news is that you can increase dopamine levels just by eating certain foods. The right amount of dopamine could uplift you from mild depression, help you lose weight, and make you feel more alive !
Dopamine is made from tyrosine one of the protein building amino acids, hence eating foods rich in tyrosine will help to boost dopamine production. These foods are:
- Sardines – or other oily fish, evidence suggests Omega 3 fats may be linked to dopamine production
- Organic / Free Range Eggs – contains tyrosine
- Spirulina – contains tyrosine
- Beetroots – contain betaine, acting as an antidepressant, and tyrosine
- Apples – contain quercetin, to prevent neurodegeneration and boost dopamine
- Spinach – rich in folate, to trigger dopamine production
- Bananas – including the amino acid tyrosine, which boosts dopamine
- Strawberries and blueberries – have tyrosine, like bananas
- Green tea – contains polyphenols, good for brain and heart function, as well as dopamine production
- Herbs – like ginkgo biloba, nettles, dandelion, and ginseng
Exercise is a brilliant way to increase dopamine levels and flood your brain with this feel-good chemical. When you exercise, the cells in your brain (and the rest of your body) start firing, becoming more energised. You also produce more serotonin and dopamine – both crucial in mood elevation. Some credit these chemicals with what’s known as the “runner’s high”, common in endurance athletes. But we do know they make you feel good, and a sense of wellbeing and happiness can increase your physical health in turn.
The best way to a natural happy high would be to exercise, eat tyrosine rich foods and add in a supplement such as ginko biloba. It would also be wise to avoid alcohol and sugary foods as these are mood dampeners! All in all it can be said that through a healthy, whole foods diet and regular exercise, you can boost your mood and attain overall wellness.
What makes you feel good? Do you do any regular exercise? Tell us below.