Dopamine is the brain’s feel good chemical, sending feelings of well-being and pleasure into your body. In addition to simply making you feel good, dopamine helps control weight, energy levels, and supports brain and heart health. Without it, we would be more fat, unhappy, and tired. But if you know how to increase dopamine levels, you can take advantage of this feel good chemical on command. The best part? You can increase dopamine levels just by eating certain foods.
Fat, unhappy, and tired—those words seem to fit many Americans quite well. Fortunately, boosting dopamine production levels could help. The right amount of dopamine could lift you from depression, help you lose weight, and put some life back into your life.
How to Increase Dopamine Levels Through Foods and Activity
But, how can you boost dopamine levels naturally? Since dopamine is synthesized from tyrosine, you can simply consume foods rich in tyrosine to boost dopamine production. Certain foods help balance dopamine levels, including:
- Fish – Evidence suggest Omega 3 fats may be linked to dopamine production
- Eggs - Contains tyrosine
- Spirulina – Contains tyrosine
- Red beets – Contain betaine, acting as an antidepressant, and tyrosine
- Apples – Contain quercetin, to prevent neurodegeneration and boost dopamine
- Kale – Rich in folate, to trigger dopamine production
- Oregano Oil – Has promising effects on mood swings and cravings by increasing dopamine levels
- Bananas – Including the amino acid tyrosine, which boosts dopamine
- Strawberries and blueberries – Include tyrosine, like bananas
- Green tea – Contains polyphenols, good for brain and heart function, as well as dopamine production
- Herbs like ginkgo biloba, nettles, dandelion, and ginseng
Another solution for how to increase dopamine levels and flood your brain with this feel-good chemical is exercise. When you exercise, the cells in your brain (and the rest of your body) start firing, becoming more energized. You also produce more serotonin and dopamine—both crucial in mood elevation. Some credit these chemicals with what’s known as the “runner’s high”, common in endurance athletes. But we do know they make you feel good, and a sense of wellbeing and happiness can increase your physical health in turn.
Alternatively, you could also take supplements to boost dopamine, although foods and exercise may be the two best and most beneficial options. Some of the supplements options to increase dopamine levels are:
- Ginkgo Biloba – Ginkgo can increase dopamine while enhancing oxygen flow and blood flow to the brain – promoting healthy transmission of nerve impulses.
- Phenylalnine – This essential amino acid can convert in the body to tyrosine, which is sued to synthesize dopamine.
- Tyrosine – What people often want in food to boost dopamine, tyrosine can also be taken as a supplement. Tyrosine is converted from phenylalnine.
What you put in your body and how you use your body determines how you feel. While a medical doctor would be quick to prescribe an anti-depressant if he felt you had a depression chemical imbalance (which some experts say doesn’t exist) like dopamine deficiency, that prescription would likely be completely unnecessary. Instead, through a healthy, whole foods diet and regular exercise, you can boost your mood and attain overall wellness.