There is no denying the fact that hardships, heart breaks, deceit, struggle, boredom, fatigue and a lot of other tough situations in life are a sure-shot recipe for lack of enthusiasm. However, have you ever considered the fact that just like everything else in your body, even these negative reactions are ruled by your hormones?
Well, if you haven’t already given this a thought, then don’t worry–we’ll help you get there.
According to several studies including the one published in the journal Nature Reviews Neuroscience, dopamine, which acts as both—a hormone and chemical neurotransmitter in your body (responsible for carrying signals from the brain to the rest of your body)—can create feelings of pleasure and reward and help you stay happy and motivated.
While the right amount of it is all you need to be happy, excess dopamine can make you hallucinate or lead to mania or schizophrenia. On the other hand, reduced dopamine production can lead to demotivation, sadness, fatigue, and even depression.
If you fall in the latter category, then here is help. Proper exercise and eating these seven dopamine-boosting foods can naturally up your dopamine levels and bring back your motivated, energetic, and cheerful self:
1. Nuts and seeds
In order to produce dopamine, your body needs to break down an amino acid known as tyrosine, which is present in abundance in nuts such as almonds and walnuts, and seeds such as flax seeds. Snacking on a handful of them during the day can up your dopamine levels and help you a great deal.
2. Non-vegetarian food
From chicken, eggs, and meat to fish and prawns—all things that are rich in protein are bound to be rich in tyrosine as per the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). This simply means that increasing your non-veg intake can also increase your dopamine levels.
3. Vegetarian protein
If you’re a vegetarian, you have options such as soya, legumes, and beans to get a generous dose of tyrosine and consequently boost your dopamine production.
4. Milk and dairy
Cheese, milk, yogurt—basically, all dairy products are a great source of tyrosine and thus, a great way of boosting your dopamine production.
Sweet treats work in two ways. Firstly, they produce the feel-good hormone, serotonin, in the body. And secondly, chocolates contain small amounts of a compound called phenylethylamine, which stimulate your brain cells to release dopamine, or so, says a study conducted at the Georgia Health Sciences University.
Strawberries can also boost serotonin and dopamine production in the body according to a study published in the journal Neural Regeneration Research.
According to a study published in the journal Translational Psychiatry, the caffeine present in coffee can make the brain alert and boost dopamine production. This is exactly why you tend to feel more wakeful and focussed after drinking the caffeinated beverage.