Increasing dopamine, the HAPPY HORMONE

The foods we suggest at your wellness visits provide a dopamine boost.

Dairy foods such as milk, cheese and yogurt
Unprocessed meats such as beef, chicken and turkey
Omega-3 rich fish such as salmon and mackerel
Fruit and vegetables
Nuts such as almonds and walnuts
Dark chocolate

In addition, as always, watch the alcohol and processed sugars and starch that block the dopamine path to your brain.

How does food affect dopamine?

Dopamine affects the reward and pleasure centers in the brain. The sudden availability of many pleasurable things such a caress, a kiss, or the sudden availability of food increases dopamine release – making you smile!

People who are obese may have, among other things, blocked the dopamine path to the brain by constant exposure to sugary foods. This makes it more and more difficult to become satisfied while eating. We know that eating increases dopamine, but again, just as in the case with leptin, the intake of sugar makes it more and more difficult to a satisfying release of dopamine – like any addiction, the more sugar you get the more you want.

What is a low sugar, highly satisfying diet? Protein intake will boost dopamine production and not block the dopamine receptors in the brain – increasing early satiety. On non-fasting days eat a high protein breakfast that includes eggs, lean meats and dairy which is satisfying AND increases dopamine.

Choose healthy fats to improve satiety such as butter, milkfats in cheese and yogurt, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats found in olive, safflower, sesame or rapeseed oils in addition to avocado, walnuts, flaxseeds and oily fish such as herring, fresh tuna and trout.

Again, this is not a diet but a lifestyle change that can improve your mood and sense of satisfaction. For what it’s worth, simply look at the quality of foods you eat, reduce processed foods, keep sugary treats to a minimum and make sure you’re fasting twice a week to get that great growth hormone pulse.

Dr. T