10 ways to increase your dopamine levels

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Have you ever wondered why eating certain foods or meeting a close friend bring about emotions of happiness and joy? It all revolves around dopamine, known to improve mood, concentration, memory and also a few body movements, if the levels are good of course. How? A chemical is released by neurons (nerve cells) to send signals to other nerve cells.

Stress, insomnia, diets high in saturated fats and sugar can cause dopamine levels to drop, which in turn could cause a dip in your mood. Here are 10 ways to increase your dopamine levels naturally…

Eat protein-rich foods: Amino acids like tyrosine and phenylalanine help in production of dopamine levels—you need to include high protein foods like lean chicken, fish, lentils, beans, eggs in your diet.

Have nuts (good fats): Nuts like almonds and walnuts are known to help improve dopamine levels due to their good fat content, mono and polyunsaturated fats. Include afistful of nuts in your diet daily.

Strengthen your gut with probiotics: Certain probiotics are known to improve dopamine levels. Fermented food like yoghurt and kimchi help in reducing lipopolysaccharides, essentially endotoxins that inhibit the production of dopamine.

Exercise daily: Many studies have shown that exercising daily and practising yoga on a regular basis help release happy hormones. So sign up for any kind of physical activity that pumps you up.

Sleep: Have you noticed how energetic you feel once you wake up after a restful night’s sleep? That’s because of the large release of dopamine in the mornings. Towards the evening, however, the levels go down, making you sleepy. If you don’t get enough sleep, dopamine receptors are reduced, which in turn affects the sleep-wake cycle as well as the dopamine system.

Supplements: Iron, B6, Folate, curcumin, ginkgo biloba help keep dopamine levels in check. Take these under the supervision of your doctor or nutritionist.

Delete sugar and artificial sweeteners: Sugary foods may give you a short-term high, but along-term decrease in dopamine levels.  Artificial sweeteners are also known to reduce both, dopamine and serotonin levels.

Socialize: Meeting new people and human touch like hugs, handshakes etc are scientifically proven to help trigger dopamine production. So go out, meet your old friends, make some new ones and make it happen for you!

(Authored By- Suman Agarwal-Founder of SelfCare India and Celebrity Nutritionist)