Dopamine is a neurotransmitter (a chemical found in the brain) that is essential for the nervous system to function correctly. It is associated with movement, pleasure, attention and learning, and mood regulation. Certain foods have been found to stimulate the production of this chemical, which in turn provides you with more energy, more motivation and helps maintain a more positive frame of mind.
Apples contain quercetin, an antioxidant that has been shown to help prevent neurodegenerative disorders in the brain through stimulating dopamine production, according to MedHelp.com. Bananas are a good source of tyrosine, an amino acid that neurons turn into norepinephrine and dopamine. Both norepinephrine and dopamine are important in the brain's memory, alertness, motivation and concentration functions. Strawberries and blueberries also stimulate dopamine production. Watermelon juice is full of vitamins including vitamin B6 which that body uses to manufacture the neurotransmitters serotonin, melatonin and dopamine. Oranges and grapefruit are both full of vitamin C, a key ingredient in production of norepinephrine. A diet high in vitamin C can result in less feelings of nervousness, irritability and depression.
Proteins are high in amino acids, which help regulate dopamine production. These include fish which are easily digestible protein that are rich in high quality essential fatty acids besides containing many trace nutrients and low levels of cholesterol and saturated fat. Recommended fish by MedHelp include salmon, striped bass, mackerel, tuna, sardines, rainbow trout and halibut. Chicken, turkey and eggs are high in protein and increase norepinephrine and dopamine levels in the body. Chicken is also a good source of coenzyme Q10 (Co Q10) "which increases the energy generating potential of neurons" in the body according to MedHelp. Raw, fresh egg whites contain high levels of tyrosine as does turkey. Cottage cheese does not have the same fat content as hard cheeses but contains protein that can boost mood and energy levels. Beans are another good protein source that boosts dopamine levels as are yoghurt and peas. Seeds and nuts like almonds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds boost dopamine and norepinephrine levels when eaten regularly.
Wheat germ is a good source of phenylalanine, an essential amino acid in the brain and blood plasma that can be converted to tyrosine which the body uses to create dopamine, according to MedHelp.
Certain vegetables contain betaine, a naturally-occuring amino acid that also works as an antidepressant. MedHelp reports that beets are a particularly good source of Betaine. This amino acid stimulates the production of SAM-e (S-adenoslmethionine), a substance that the body cannot do without. SAM-e is "directly related to the production of certain hormones," according to MedHelp, including dopamine and serotonin.
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