How would you like to have more energy, elevate your mood, control your appetite, increase your focus, motivation and sex drive naturally and easily! Well the answer is simple…Dopamine. Healthy motor and mental control of mood elevation, appetite, focus, and sex drive has so much do with your levels of dopamine. “You may be thinking “Where do I start” or “Isn’t that the name of one of the 7 dwarfs in Snow White?” but dopamine, is actually a neurotransmitter and acts as an essential role in regulating proper function of mental and motor control, which means the deciding factor in how you feel depends on your dopamine levels. Thus, regardless of your familiarity with dopamine levels this is one of the biggest factors in changing not only your physical but your mental state as well.
Stay with us as ehow.com breaks down the most important factors in changing your levels so you can be down with dopamine.
Include ripe bananas as part of your daily diet: As a banana matures, it produces dopamine quinine, a naturally occurring form of dopamine. Although small brown areas on the fruit indicate bruising, these portions also contain the highest levels of dopamine.
Eat foods that increase levels of dopamine: Many sources of food contain the ingredient tyrosine, including bananas, avocados, lima beans, dairy products, almonds and pumpkin seeds. Supplement your diet with foods rich in antioxidants. Foods rich in antioxidants, such as fruits and vegetables, also boost your dopamine levels. Chicken, eggs and other protein-rich foods help raise the levels of dopamine and serotonin, both contributors to depression. Free radicals lower dopamine levels in the body, and antioxidants eliminate free radicals. Most vegetables and fruits contain some antioxidants, with cacao beans, red beans, blueberries, cranberries, artichokes, prunes and strawberries topping the list.
Raw Almonds and Sunflower Seeds: Pack a handful of raw almonds or sunflower seeds for your morning break instead of eating a candy bar. In addition, sprinkle sesame seeds on salads and sandwiches for a jump-start to your dopamine levels.
Reduce your intake of sugary foods and saturated fats: Not only will these products reduce dopamine levels in your blood-stream, saturated fats will clog your arteries and increase your risk of heart disease. You can still enjoy your favorite foods, but cut out as much sugar as possible and substitute olive oil or another polyunsaturated oil in food preparation. Refined foods with sugar, saturated fats and cholesterol can interfere with brain function and reduce levels of dopamine in your body. They also increase your risk of heart disease.
Avoid consumption of coffee and other drinks high in caffeine: Caffeine contributes to depression because it artificially inflates the amount of serotonin in your brain, boosting your mood temporarily. Switch to decaffeinated coffee and reduce alcoholic drinks to one or fewer per day. Caffeine boosts the neurotransmitters in the brain and increases serotonin temporarily, but after the spike, dopamine levels sink. People who suffer from depression should avoid caffeinated coffee. Likewise, alcohol limits neurotransmitter function and creates a false sense of security that the user comes to depend upon.
Exercise: Dr John Harvey, a Harvard clinical associate professor of psychiatry, says exercise is “like taking a little bit of Prozac and a little bit of Ritalin.” Working out is a natural way to raise the level of dopamine in your body. Regular workouts help combat depression and increase energy. Vigorous physical activity can produce a euphoric feeling, or “runner’s high.” The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends adults have 2 1/2 hours per week of moderate physical activity for maximum health benefits.
Sex: Sexual intercourse can increase dopamine levels. Low dopamine levels can decrease sex drive.
Spend time with family and friends: Cultivating relationships with loved ones can help boost your dopamine levels. Socializing and being around friends and family members affect your neurotransmitters by increasing self-confidence, happiness and focus. Isolation contributes to depression.
Vitamins: B vitamins (B6, B9, B12), NADH and omega-3 fatty acids found in high doses of fish oil supplements appear to increase dopamine levels.
Purchase natural amino acid supplements: Available at health food stores or online, these products offer a concentrated dose of the amino acids to help increase your dopamine levels in restoring your brain to healthy functioning, and have little to no side effects
Meditate: A study by Perreau-Linck and colleagues reported that meditation increased the release of dopamine. Yoga also has some asanas (movements) that help increase blood flow to the brain. Along with the increased blood come oxygen and glucose, which are the building blocks of neurotransmitters like dopamine.
*Do not take any supplements before consulting with your health care provider. Many natural and herbal supplements have interactions with medications and create complications with some conditions and diseases. It’s important to be sure any supplement you take is safe for you.