If you want to know more about dopamine and its effects on your body, it is essential that you gain an in-depth knowledge about how our “brain chemical messengers” work. These neurotransmitters are the chemicals responsible for the transmission of information from one neuron to another.
They are called neurotransmitters because they send messages through different areas of the nervous system: the brain, the spinal cord and the nerves. Different types of transmitters exist and all of them influence the proper functioning of your body’s organs. Hormones, for example, transmit information through our blood.
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Brain and body function
The brain’s neurotransmitters exercise control over neurons. A domino effect is produced when there is a shortage of them. The body starts to feel disrupted by the shortage since the nervous system needs to interchange diverse information to be able to influence other organs. These neurotransmitters not only make the brain function properly but also the body as well.
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Dopamine is a natural hormone produced in the brain that is closely related to the feeling of pleasure. This hormone is involved in the regulation of emotions, moods, sexual desire, anxiety levels, sleep and the ability to cope with stress, amongst other things. In contrast, a fall in the levels of dopamine in the brain usually causes depression and a general lack of motivation.
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As we have seen, dopamine is important in the proper functioning of your brain and body. However, when the ideal balance of this hormone is lost we can see a number of negative consequences. Scientific studies have found that a low concentration of dopamine in the brain increases the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. In contrast, other studies have asserted that a high concentration can contribute towards schizophrenia.
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Stress, the eternal enemy
Lots of people have problems sleeping. If you wake up often through the night and then feel exhausted in the morning after not having had a proper night’s sleep, in the majority of cases it will have been caused by high stress levels that have influenced the production and concentration of dopamine in your brain.
Make a good decision
Regrettably, when these biochemical imbalances occur, most people start using antidepressants, anxiolytics or tranquilizers and some people end up developing addictions to the drugs which are supposed to help them. However, there are other solutions in the form of supplements and foods that help in creating balanced levels of dopamine production. These foods can be incorporated into your daily diet and they can help you successfully solve the problem.
Consider including almonds in your diet
Almonds are natural antidepressants and antioxidants. They offer an important source of phenylalanine, a substance that helps the brain produce dopamine, adrenaline and noradrenaline. You can eat them in your breakfast cereal, desserts, salads, cereal bars or on their own.
The pulp of this fruit contains serotonin and dopamine. It is best to select a banana that is ripe, as those brown bits that you never want to eat are actually the parts that have the highest concentration of both. A good combination is banana with a few drops of honey. Ideally, you will make this fruit a part of your daily breakfast. This way, you will start the day with the energy you need.
Nuts are one of the best allies of the brain. Besides providing omega-3 and omega-6 acids and vitamins B6 and E, they produce important positive effects on neuronal tissue due to their content of polyphenol and bioactive substances. You can eat nuts at breakfast, add them to your salads or simply eat them on their own.
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Fruit and vegetables
Fruit and vegetables contain high levels of molecules known as antioxidants, which help combat free radical damage to cells and other molecules within the body. Therefore, consuming fruit and vegetables as part of your diet may help maintain levels of dopamine within the body by preventing it from being oxidized. If you consume foods rich in antioxidants, you are not only helping fight the aging process but you are also aiding the proper functioning of your brain. A diet rich in fruit and vegetables helps you lose excess weight and will make your skin and hair appear more radiant.
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