Chances are that at some point in your life you’ve heard the term “dopamine.” Commonly known as a “feel-good” brain chemical, dopamine plays an important role in the brain’s reward system – if you’ve ever eaten a piece of chocolate and thought, just one more bite, you can thank dopamine for that response. And while a bite of chocolate may trigger a quick dopamine fix, these types of triggers have been shown to ultimately decrease dopamine levels over time.
If you’re unsure of your dopamine levels and would like to learn more, talk to your doctor about testing.
The good news is that there are several effective, med-free ways that may help boost your dopamine levels, according to research.
Try these four natural dopamine boosters:
Exercise We all know by now that exercise is good for us. Aside from keeping our waistlines trim, exercising releases endorphins, which can act as a natural mood booster. While this endorphin boost isn’t the same as a change in dopamine, it may help improve mood in the short-term.
Sleep Well One way to help encourage your brain to regulate dopamine production is to get adequate sleep. Studies suggest that dopamine levels naturally rise in the morning when it’s time to wake up and fall in the evening when it’s time for bed. So, by staying up late and sleeping in, this natural rhythm can be disrupted.
Working on practicing good sleep hygiene is a great place to start. Try avoiding any screen time an hour before you’d like to go to bed. Keep your bedroom cool (around 68 degrees) and resist the urge to work or scroll on your phone from bed.
Eat More Protein You may or may not have heard of an amino acid called tyrosine. Amino acids are what makes up proteins, and tyrosine, in particular, plays an important role in the production of dopamine.
Studies have linked eating a tyrosine-rich diet to higher levels of dopamine. Chicken, fish, eggs, and legumes are great, protein-heavy foods that are easily incorporated into most diets. You can also add in other tyrosine boosters like avocados, broccoli, spinach, and kale to your diet as well.
There’s room for more research regarding this particular correlation, but meditation has been shown to help reduce anxiety symptoms, improve depression symptoms, lower blood pressure, and more. If you’d like to give it try, try this easy meditation exercise.
Remember that it’s normal to feel down from time to time, but when your symptoms begin to affect your quality of life, it might be time to talk to your doctor. Depression is a manageable condition with many different treatment options, so it’s just a matter of finding the option that will work best for you.
If you’d like to learn more about Neurocore’s drug-free depression program give us a call at 800.600.4096. We’d be happy to chat about how we may be able to help.
Neurocore makes no claims that it can cure any conditions, including any conditions referenced on its website or in print materials, including ADHD, anxiety, autism, depression, traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, migraines, headaches, stress, sleep disorders, Alzheimer’s and dementia. If you take prescription medications for any of these conditions, you should consult with your doctor before discontinuing use of such medications.