Are you feeling a bit down or having mood swings lately? You could be suffering from a low level of dopamine, a type of neurotransmitter.
This neurotransmitter determines your alertness, learning, creativity, satisfaction, attention and concentration levels. It also affects brain processes that control movement and emotional responses.
Low levels of dopamine can cause symptoms like frequent mood changes, difficulty focusing your mind, insomnia, fatigue, anxiety, and compulsive overeating that causes weight gain.
If you are feeling tired and unhappy, your body may just need a good boost of dopamine.
Eating dopamine foods is the simplest and easiest way to elevate your mood, improve your mental health and increase your level of happiness.
Here are the top 10 dopamine foods.
Quercetin, a potent antioxidant found in apples, promotes brain health. Studies have shown that quercetin can prevent neurodegenerative diseases as well as stimulate dopamine. This in turn helps you feel pleasure and passion.
Another powerful antioxidant, polyphenols, found in apples protects dopamine cells from damage. To get the best nutritional value out of apples, eat one apple daily with its peel.
All types of nuts help maintain appropriate dopamine levels, but almonds are considered the best for this purpose. Almonds contain phenylalanine, an essential amino acid required for the production of dopamine. Plus, almonds are high in fiber and good fat, which are important for brain as well as overall health.
To increase your dopamine level, eat a few raw almonds daily as a healthy snack. They are unprocessed and lower in sodium compared to smoked or salted almonds.
3. Dark Chocolate
To relieve stress or lift a low mood, people often eat chocolate. Chocolate contains phenylalanine, an amino acid that plays a key role in dopamine production.
Look for dark chocolate with more than 85 percent cocoa as it has the highest concentration of dopamine-building phenylalanine.
Next time you feel down in the dumps, eat dark chocolate. But don’t over indulge because the sugar and fat content can cause other health problems.
Bananas are an excellent source of tyrosine, a kind of amino acid that helps regulate and stimulate dopamine levels.
This helps make you feel happy as well as increase your memory, concentration and alertness. Packed with other nutrients as well, bananas are good for heart and muscle maintenance.
Eat one banana daily. Try to eat ripe and sweeter bananas as their tyrosine content is more potent.
High in amino acids, egg helps trigger dopamine production and stimulate your metabolism. Phenylalanine is just one of nine amino acids in eggs that plays a key role in dopamine production.
You can try different options to include eggs in your diet, such as hard boiled eggs, omelets, scrambled eggs and so on.
Strawberries are a rich source of vitamin C, which is important for maintaining brain health. This particular vitamin fights free radicals in the brain so that it can access dopamine easily.
Plus, strawberries are high in phenol antioxidants like anthocyanins and ellagitannins that protect dopaminergic neurons from damage.
Try to eat more organic strawberries because they contain higher levels of antioxidants, which result in higher dopamine levels.
Salmon is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which plays a key role in overall brain development and functioning.
Omega-3 fatty acids are necessary for building neurotransmitters like dopamine that protect against mood swings and depression. Plus, salmon is low in saturated fat and cholesterol.
Along with salmon, other deep-water fishes like mackerel, tuna, halibut, rainbow trout and sardines are good for the brain. Try to eat smoked or grilled fish to increase and maintain your dopamine level.
Beetroot contains betaine, a kind of amino acid and antidepressant that stimulates the production of dopamine. Also as a bonus, beetroot contains few calories and a high amount of iron.
To boost your mood naturally, drink fresh beetroot juice daily. If you do not like the taste of beetroot juice, try mixing it with other fruit juices.
Watermelon is a good source of the amino acid tyrosine. Tyrosine when converted into dopamine results in increased dopamine levels which in turn boosts your mood.
Plus, watermelon is fat free and contains a high amount of vitamin B6 that is used by the body to produce neurotransmitters like dopamine.
To help maintain adequate dopamine levels, drink a glass of fresh watermelon juice daily.
10. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are also a tyrosine-rich food that helps increase dopamine levels. Plus, the vitamin E present in pumpkin seeds stimulates dopamine and reduces free radicals that damage brain cells.
This in turn can make you more alert and sharpen your thinking. Moreover, they can help lower cholesterol, reduce the risk of cancer and prevent kidney stones.
You can enjoy roasted pumpkin seeds between meals as a healthy snack.
You can increase your dopamine level just by eating these dopamine foods, ultimately bringing more happiness to your life.
Also, when you are stressed, tired or depressed, you must avoid stimulants like fried food, alcohol and cigarettes.