Boosting Your Happiness Factor: How to Increase Dopamine Levels

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Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, a chemical that communicates messages between neurons in the body. There are over 100 different neurotransmitters in the body with unique roles. Dopamine plays a role in the pleasure experience and low levels are often connected with a less enthusiastic attitude.

It’s possible to increase dopamine levels in the brain. Doing so can lead to more motivation for daily tasks, increasing happiness and improving mood.

Quick Read:

Healthy dopamine levels are important to good health, as this neurotransmitter is linked to movement, motivation and attention. Learn how dietary choices and lifestyle changes can be used to increase dopamine’s presence in the brain.

These Lifestyle Changes Can Alter the Chemistry in Your Brain

Boosting Dopamine with Nutrition

Changes to diet can increase dopamine levels in the brain. A diet rich in protein can help increase dopamine because of two important amino acids —tyrosine and phenylalanine. When these nutrients are abundant, it encourages the production of dopamine. Eggs, lean beef, dairy, soy and seafood are foods that are high in these two amino acids.

Lowering saturated fat intake could also affect the brain. One study on rats observed decreased dopamine in the brain when saturated fat intake was increased. Foods high in saturated fats include beef, full-fat dairy products, pork and lamb.

Gut health is linked to brain health, and healthy bacteria, called probiotics, are important to dopamine production. Probiotics can be found in yogurt and fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi and pickles.

Boosting Dopamine with Lifestyle

Adopting healthy habits can also help increase dopamine levels. Good sleep hygiene is a high priority since a bad nights’ sleep has been linked with lower dopamine levels at waking. Sleep can be improved by avoiding TV, cell phone and other electronic screens before bed, practicing meditation and staying active throughout the day.

Speaking of meditation, this practice can increase this happy neurotransmitter independent of sleep habits. One impressive study observed a 65 percent increase in dopamine after an hour of meditation in individuals who were experienced with meditation. Beginning meditators don’t need to feel intimidated as this habit offers benefits even when practiced a few minutes each day.

Head outside! Spending time in the sun is seriously good for getting in a good mood, specifically because of how sunlight increases dopamine levels. That being said, be careful, avoid being outdoors during peak hours without proper sunscreen and protective clothing.

Signs of a dopamine deficiency include feeling less interested in life, having trouble concentrating and changes in sleep patterns. In addition to the natural ideas above, it’s a good idea to speak with a healthcare professional about addressing a dopamine deficiency.

~Here’s to Your Healthy Ascension!

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