Foods That Trigger the Release of Dopamine

Updated April 17, 2017

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter in the brain responsible for controlling the body's movements, generating feelings of pleasure, controlling the amount of information in the brain, and heart stimulation. If the body lacks dopamine, its movements are less controlled. If the body has too much dopamine, it will have uncontrollable movements such as jerking, twitching, or repetitive movements. According to, the way we eat impacts the development of the neurotransmitters and certain foods can trigger the release of dopamine.


Fruits like apples and bananas are excellent foods that trigger the release of dopamine. Bananas contain an amino acid called tyrosine which is the most important stimulant for the brain to produce dopamine. The brown spots on the banana contain the highest amount of dopamine. explains that adding bananas to a diet may helps treat symptoms of depression. Apples contain an antioxidant called quercetin. Quercetin works to preserve dopamine levels in the body by protecting the dopamine cells from getting destroyed. Other fruits trigger the release of dopamine are blueberries, cranberries, prunes, and strawberries.


Eating foods high in amino acids will trigger the release of dopamine. Proteins hold an amino acid called tyrosine which triggers the release of dopamine after entering the body. Dopamine is found in foods such as almonds, cheese, chicken, fish, and any other protein containing Omega 3 fatty acids. Dairy products such as cheese, milk, and yoghurt contain protein. Black beans, chick peas, lima beans, and fava beans are all sources of rich protein foods that will help trigger dopamine. Eggs are a source of protein and contain choline, which is a vitamin that helps improve concentration and memory. Almonds are nuts loaded with protein but should be eaten in moderation because they can cause weight gain and headaches.


Chocolate contains phenylalanine, which is an essential amino acid that turns into tyrosine. The University of Maryland explains that tyrosine is a building block for the neurotransmitter that triggers dopamine. The stimulant in chocolate is in the cocoa and greater amounts of tyrosine are found in dark chocolate. In chocolate, the fat from the milk will also trigger dopamine because it's a dairy product. Dark chocolate contains many antioxidants, however too much could harm the liver and cause weight gain. According to, chocolate contains phenylalanine which is related to amino acids. Phenylalanine increases activity and has been proven to relieve depression in 60 per cent of depressed patients.

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About the Author

Gina Lay has written extensively online since 2009. Her current writing includes work for eHow, where her specialty topics include articles related to health. Lay attended the National Institute of Technology and University of Akron for medical assisting.