Dopamine: Increase This “Feel Good” Hormone Naturally
Have you ever noticed that every person at the subway station or on the street has very distinct facial expressions? Surprisingly, all of them are sharing the same surrounding, and some of them are even sharing a life, then why this difference in nature and happiness level?
Well, one answer to this question is dopamine. Yes, the hormone that stimulates a feeling of happiness and activeness in the human body. People with a high amount of dopamine tend to stay cheerful, happy, and active while the ones with lower levels become down and depressed.
So no, dopamine production is not dependent on your genes entirely. Your lifestyle and choices are what decide it. Moreover, you can increase its natural production at any age and situation of life, provided you are aware of the following:
Ways To Enhance Dopamine Naturally
Healthy Sleeping Patterns
Apart from enhancing mood, dopamine is also responsible for the feeling of alertness and wakefulness. No wonder the brain secretes a large amount of this hormone during the morning. Naturally, as the day pass, its levels start to decrease, and by evening they are minimal. With this decrement, you begin to feel tired and sleepy and go to bed, and the cycle continues smoothly.
However, when for some reason you have to stay awake, the cycle gets disrupted and eventually the dopamine secretions the next morning are low. Now you can start to feel it is difficult to concentrate, coordinate and most of all stay cheerful. As a result, by the evening, you are restless and sad, which makes sleeping very difficult. With each day the sadness increases and finally you reach a level where life seems like an endless cycle of the same events, and all this because you didn’t get sleep in a single night.
So, never deprive the body of this vital aspect and get a regular sleep of at least 7-9 hours every day.
Decrease Caffeine Intake
Enjoying a cup of coffee, or other caffeinated drinks is a great way to boost productivity, but like sugar, they are also temporary solutions. When you drink the beverage, it raises the dopamine level in the bloodstream to make you more active but as the caffeine starts to wear off the dopamine level decrease at a very rapid speed.
In no time you will start to feel the craving for another one of these drinks which will keep on increasing with each day. The situation will get even worse if the beverage has additional refined sugar or other synthetic sweeteners.
Moreover, if you drink caffeine drinks during the evening time; it will contribute to sleep disorders.
So eliminate these drinks from your diet. If you are consuming them, make sure you keep them to a minimal level. Decaf coffee is also an option.
Eat Tyrosine-Rich Food
The brain has a complex network of cells for transmitting signals to the body and glands. These cells also play a part in generating neurotransmitters for proper mood regulation. However, they need amino acids for this process. There are almost 20 different types of amino acids that the brain would need to form the basic building block of these essential cells. One of these amino acids, I-phenylalanine is the one that gets converted to dopamine and increasing it would increase the mood-enhancing hormones.
However, the body cannot make this chemical by itself; you have to add it externally through food and beverages. There are a lot of fruits and vegetables that you can consume for this particular chemical compound. Some of these dopamine-increasing foods are:
- Bananas (ripe is better)
- Unprocessed meats
- Omega-3 rich salmon and mackerel
- Dark chocolate
- Chia and pumpkin seeds
- Green tea
Personal Touch And Hugs
Have you noticed how a slight touch, kiss, or hug from someone, can suddenly lighten your mood? Well, this happens due to the secretion of happy and love hormones which include dopamine.
When you get a personal touch, it creates a sense of belongingness and comfort. These feelings make the mind calm and then ready to share the same passion with others, which leads to the production of dopamine.
Surprisingly this rise of dopamine is very high, way higher than any other natural source can provide. So you see how kissing, cuddling, tickling, hugging and even massage make you an active, alert, and cheerful person.
Listen To Music
Music is by far the easiest way of increasing dopamine in the body. When the vibration of music enters your ear, it travels straight to your brain and triggers the pleasure-giving parts of it. It targets the areas which have more dopamine receptors and can then increase its production.
The studies suggest that emotional music can pump the level of this hormone, up to 9%. This quality of music also makes it an ideal choice for treating motor control problems like Parkinson’s disease.
Get Some Probiotics
As weird as it may sound, the health of your gut is closely related to brain health. They are so alike that, the intestines are sometimes referred to as the second brain for good reasons. Like the brain, the gut also has a network of neurotransmitters which includes dopamine.
Some species of bacteria living in the gut are also capable of producing this hormone. So it’s not rocket science that adding more of these good bacteria will help you increase the number of happy hormones in the body.
The research in this aspect is limited, but there is some evidence of mood-enhancing by the bacteria but no theory about the scale of effect. There is no evidence to tell how long it will last, but if these bacteria are suitable for the body, probiotics are worth a shot.
Fasting regularly allows the body to balance the functioning and hormonal balance of the body. This activity triggers the section of the brain that handles the production of proteins and neurons. These neurons and proteins then trigger the brain’s hormone-balancing function to ensure that all the hormones, including dopamine, in the body are at an optimal level.
The neurotransmitters produced are also capable of amplifying pleasurable feelings by enhancing dopamine actions.
Apart from the direct cycle, fastening also has an indirect effect on dopamine. The controlled calorie intake makes the whole body active and stress-free, which means there will be nothing stopping the dopamine effect. Fasting also can slow down one of the significant happiness killers, premature aging. It has metabolism increasing, enhanced healing, cell replicating, and disease prevention effects that contribute to slowing down the aging processes.
The Final Words
Staying happy, confident, and positive in every scenario is very crucial for leading a successful life. You literally cannot deal with a problem with a large volume of other stress and negativity pressuring your brain. Plus, no one likes to deal with a person who is always angry, crying, or blaming others for his/her problems. Apart from that, Dopamine is also essential to prevent diseases like Parkinson’s.
Fortunately, dopamine is not that tough to produce, especially with a healthy lifestyle and a balanced diet. So stay happy and stay healthy.