Apart from the foodies who gleam at the sight of any kind of food, do you know that there are actually foods that can make you happy? We will let you know a little scientific fact – your “feeling low” or your mood swings could be because of 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.
You might just need a boost of dopamine if you are feeling tired and unhappy. Eating dopamine-rich foods is the simplest and easiest way to elevate your mood, improve your mental health, and increase your level of happiness. Let’s look at the 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.
Carrots contain vitamin A, C, E, K, potassium, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, and manganese. These vitamins and minerals are responsible for slowing down ageing, lowering the risk of cardiovascular diseases, improving dental and liver health, and preventing infections. Vitamin E present in carrots reduces free radicals that damage brain cells and stimulates dopamine.
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.
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.
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. Eggs are also high in vitamin D.
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. Strawberries are high in phenol antioxidants like anthocyanins and ellagitannins that protect dopaminergic neurons from damage.
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.
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.
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. Watermelon is fat free and contains a high amount of vitamin B6 that is used by the body to produce neurotransmitters like dopamine.
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.
Broccoli contains proteins, which are essential for increasing metabolism and inducing weight loss. Amino acid, which is a proteinpresent in broccoli releases dopamine in the brain, which boosts your mood.
Tofu is another soy-based product, which is rich in protein and brilliant for vegetarians. The amino acids present in tofu are essential for boosting dopamine levels in the brain.
Now that you know what to eat for happiness, go ahead and choose the food from the supermarket racks wisely!