Let’s face it: we don’t exactly live in carefree times. In a world where so much is beyond our control, taking care of ourselves in the little things can make a huge difference. For example, eating things that nourish both our body and soul.
In addition to giving yourself the freedom to listen to your hunger cues and eat what you want and when you want, a great way to invest in your mental health is to add a few foods to your plate that increase your body’s production of the happy hormone.
Dopamine is precisely this feel-good hormone that plays a key role in your brain health.
It acts as a neurotransmitter (a chemical released by neurons to send signals to other nerve cells). Certain foods can increase dopamine levels, and eating dopamine foods benefits your health in many ways.
Find out what to eat to improve your mood:
These include everyday foods like cheese, milk and yogurt. Cheese contains tyramine, which is converted into dopamine in the human body. Foods containing probiotics, such as yogurt, also increase dopamine levels.
Nuts rich in vitamin B6 help because this vitamin helps the brain produce dopamine. Walnuts and hazelnuts are good sources of vitamin B6. Walnuts also contain DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid that is responsible for modulating the concentration of dopamine. Walnuts and almonds are good sources of folate, which also helps produce dopamine.
Studies show that chocolate can interact with a number of neurotransmitters, including dopamine. Dopamine is released after consuming dark chocolate and causes a pleasant sensory experience.
High-quality coffee in moderation can also increase dopamine levels, as caffeine can signal our body to produce additional dopamine.
You can get the same benefits from other sources of caffeine, such as matcha, chocolate, green tea, and other forms of caffeinated tea.
Omega-3 fatty acids
In studies on rats, omega-3 fatty acids have been found to normalize dopamine levels and reduce the development of anxious behavior.
Another study found that oral fish oil treatment restored dopamine release after traumatic brain injury.
You can get them from nuts, beans, fish, poultry and many other sources. (Just make sure you’re extra careful about getting B6, which can be found in non-citrus fruits, starchy vegetables, fish, fortified grains)
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