by Matt Weik, BS, CSCS, CPT, CSN
Dopamine is an essential chemical messenger in our brain, and it has various functions.
Dopamine is the chemical that makes you feel good. It’s the neurotransmitter that allows you to feel motivated and fulfilled in life, and it’s what keeps you going through hard times. Dopamine is linked to reward, memory, attention, body movement, and motivation. It’s also essential for emotional responses. Low dopamine levels are associated with depression, while high levels can lead to delusions and hallucinations.
Dopamine can be produced naturally by your body or taken in through food or supplements.
Here are seven ways to increase dopamine levels in your body naturally.
1. Protein is the Solution
Protein serves as the building block for neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. So, when you eat protein-rich foods such as eggs and chicken, your body can convert these into neurotransmitters and send them through your bloodstream to your brain, where they work as messengers between cells. This helps boost your mood, concentration, and memory function.
2. Get Enough Sleep
It turns out that getting enough sleep is one of the best things you can do for your brain. According to a study, sleep deprivation can lead to a loss in dopamine levels.
One reason is that it helps your body produce more dopamine—a neurotransmitter that controls the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. When you get enough sleep, your brain produces more dopamine, making you feel happier, more alert, and more motivated.
3. Music Therapy
Music is one of the best ways to increase dopamine levels.
This is because music has a great beat and rhythm that makes you feel good. If you listen to music with a beat, your brain gets a dopamine boost. The better the song, the more dopamine your brain releases. This can help you focus on your work and maintain your energy levels throughout the day.
When you’re feeling down or are just not into your work anymore, listening to some upbeat music can be just what you need to get back into it!
4. Avoid Saturated Fat
Saturated fat is found in many foods like meat, cheese, and butter. It also makes up a large part of the fats in your brain. In fact, your brain uses more energy than any other organ, and it needs a lot of food to keep going.
The problem with saturated fat is that it can build up in the brain and kill neurons. This is why it’s important to eat foods that are high in unsaturated fats, as they provide more energy for your brain without damaging neurons as saturated fats do.
5. Exercise More
Exercise is a great way to increase dopamine levels, and it’s something you can do daily. Ever felt that sense of hype and success after some great workout session? That’s your dopamine doing the magic.
Dopamine is a chemical that helps regulate your mood, motivation, and happiness. When you exercise regularly, you’ll have higher levels of the feel-good hormone norepinephrine in your brain. That means that when you exercise, you’ll feel happier and more energetic—and even more so as time goes on!
We all know that meditation is good for us. It helps us to relax, manage stress, and focus our minds on what we’re doing. But did you know that it can also help you feel more motivated and happier?
That’s because meditation raises dopamine levels in the brain, making us feel good! Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays a role in regulating movement, cognition, motivation, and emotion. The more dopamine in your system, the better you’ll feel about yourself and the world around you—and meditation helps boost those levels!
7. Get Enough Sunlight
Your body needs vitamin D to make dopamine. This vitamin is found in foods like fish, eggs, and dairy products, as well as in certain mushrooms and plants like lichen. If you don’t get enough sun exposure or have a vitamin D deficiency, your body may not be able to produce enough dopamine on its own.
Researchers have found that people living in areas with less sunlight tend to have lower dopamine levels than those living in more sunny climates. This makes sense because if you’re not getting enough sun exposure, your body may not be able to make enough dopamine. In contrast, someone who lives near the equator where there’s more direct sunlight available year-round can keep their dopamine levels in check.
A study of 68 healthy adults revealed that those who had received the most sunlight in the previous 30 days had the highest density of dopamine receptors in their brains’ reward and movement regions.