How does chocolate affect brain chemistry

7 foods that increase serotonin and dopamine levels

Last update: 13 February, 2018

Foods that increase serotonin and dopamine levels improve brain functions and help against slight depressive moods or lack of motivation. We should not forget that these two neurotransmitters lower blood pressure, improve the quality of our sleep and also provide us with energy and well-being to cope with our everyday lives.

There are many articles reporting on foods that alone are capable of treating depression. However, we should be careful with this type of information and focus on this positive effect, on this detail, which has its logic but needs to be properly explained.

There are four substances in our body that form the happiness quartet: endorphins, serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin.

There are foods that, because of their composition, favor and strengthen this happiness quartet, which can reduce the symptoms of depression and also improve our mood. However, numerous studies indicate that there is no single food that can completely eliminate a depressive disorder on its own. Eating a healthy diet that includes foods that increase serotonin and dopamine levels is a strategy that must be combined with psychological and pharmacological treatment in the event of depression.

But even when we feel good it is recommended to consume the suggested foods because of their associated benefits.

Foods that increase serotonin and dopamine levels

We should make one thing clear, and that is, that the serotonin and dopamine levels in our organism fluctuate for various reasons. Depression is one of those reasons, but there are many more that we shouldn't ignore:

  • When we go through stressful times
  • When we consume too much saturated fat, sugar, etc.
  • A thyroid disorder
  • When we take drugs that reduce serotonin and dopamine production

Now let's look at the foods that we can fall back on and that can positively affect the production of these two valuable neurotransmitters, serotonin and dopamine.

1. Oats

Oats contain what are known as intelligent carbohydrates. What does that mean? Basically, that there are foods that have a calming effect on our brain. Complex carbohydrates are part of these foods, which are largely made from whole grains, and they also have another wonderful property: They have a positive effect on the production of tryptophan. This is an important amino acid from which serotonin is formed.

2. bananas

Among the foods that increase serotonin and dopamine levels, bananas are undoubtedly one of the most potent foods. A banana alone is not effective against depression, but it gives us energy, optimism and health in a natural way. This is because the effect the banana has on our brain is simply sensational:

  • Are bananas rich in natural sugar, which gives us an incredible amount of strength and energy, to overcome periods of depression.
  • They provide us with vitamins A, B6, C and K - basic components to promote the metabolism and the synthesis of numerous neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine.
  • They have a positive effect on the production of tryptophan.

3. Eggs

Nowadays, some people avoid eating eggs because they are afraid that their cholesterol levels will rise. However, science has confirmed that eggs are good for our health because they give us good cholesterol, or HDL cholesterol. The secret is not to overeat or eat too few eggs.

In addition, eggs, as well as dairy products, help us to produce tryptophan and vitamin B6. These are substances that are necessary for the production of serotonin and dopamine.

4. Chocolate

We believe that more than one of our readers will be surprised to find chocolate on this list. But here it is and we can give ourselves this gift every day, especially in the morning. But we shouldn't overdo it with our chocolate consumption and should only eat one rib of dark chocolate with a high cocoa content and no sugar per day.

It is also one of the most famous foods that increase serotonin and dopamine levels and stimulate the release of endorphins. It is a natural pain reliever and, like caffeine, a substance that provides us with energy.

5. Pineapple

Sometimes we fail to consider the benefits that many of these fruits at our disposal have for us. The pineapple is undoubtedly one of those foods that should always be part of our diet. The reason for this? We know many reasons:

  • A pineapple reduces anxiety and is anti-inflammatory.
  • It is rich in vitamin C and therefore perfect for the circulation.
  • It increases concentration and motivation.
  • It should come on the table, especially at dinner, as it helps us release the sleep hormone melatonin.

6. Salmon

Fish like salmon or mackerel are rich in B vitamins. These types of essential vitamins are essential to promote the production of serotonin and dopamine. As we have mentioned elsewhere, our brain also needs these omega-3 fatty acids contained in salmon, through which brain activities such as attention, memory, and mood are improved.

7. Chickpeas

Chickpeas are said to be the most important ingredient of all. This phrase is undoubtedly correct, because among the foods that increase serotonin and dopamine levels, this type of legume has been valued the most for centuries.

In fact, many countries have known for a very long time how effective this food is in improving mood and energizing us. Hence, a healthy dish of hummus with olive oil, garlic, and paprika is one of the most common and valued meals in the Middle East.

Perhaps more than one of the foods mentioned in this article is on your daily menu. If not, then remember that all these foods should not be missing in a balanced diet and that they should be consumed in the most natural form. At the same time, we should acquire healthy lifestyle habits, Habits like exercise and a healthy way of dealing with our emotions. Only in this way will we favor this brain chemistry under which well-being is both palpable and evident and which we can enjoy.

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