We are What we Eat – Spring is here so why not set aside forty-five days to boost your drive and enthusiasm? Within only a month and a half you could feel happier, healthier, have a brighter outlook, be more goal-orientated and have far better cognitive function.
I am known as a past life regressionist but have also studied many modalities on my journey to health and self-discovery. My interest in herbal therapy encouraged me to look further into herbalism to the extent I studied Advanced Herbalist.
Many alternative therapies have helped along the way, but the main stay of our health is what we put into our body that assists us in changing or enhancing our moods so that we are at our optimum level of fitness. Be it prescribed medicines at times, we all need to be responsible for what we absorb and how we look after our bodies. Removing ourselves from harmful issues can mentally lift us, eating the right foods helps us grow and stay strong. One of the ways in which we can boost our drive is to be aware of our situation and act accordingly.
Even though herbs have been used for mental and physical healing for centuries, it is only recently that they have started being recognised in mainstream Western culture. Now, more and more people are seeking them out to help with everything from depression, stress, and anxiety to bloating and PMS.
Balancing your dopamine levels in a natural way so can regain your zest for life, increase your motivation and improve your mood and overall cognitive functioning.
Being a person of facts and research, I would like to point out that the 86 billion neurons in our brain communicate with each other via a set of chemicals called neurotransmitters. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter which is a key driver of focus, motivation and productivity. Low dopamine levels can lead to lack of motivation, fatigue, addictive behaviour, mood swings and memory loss.
Crucially, the health of your intestinal flora impacts your production of neurotransmitters. An excess of bad bacteria leaves toxic by-products called lipopolysaccharides which reduce your levels of dopamine. This can lead to other problems of the gut causing you to feel bloated and generally poorly.
What does dopamine do?
Dopamine has been called our “motivation molecule” and is intrinsically linked to our pleasure/reward system, allowing us to experience feelings of enjoyment, bliss, and even euphoria. It has a strong influence on our drive, focus, and concentration.
Physical exercise boosts production of new brain cells, it slows down brain cell ageing, and improves the flow of nutrients to the brain. It can also increase your levels of dopamine along with both serotonin and norepinephrine. When I say exercise, a ten-minute walk can be enough.
The symptoms of depression are very similar to the symptoms produced by low dopamine levels and they include:
Fatigue, Apathy, Procrastination, Lack of motivation, Anhedonia / inability to feel pleasure, low libido, sleep problems, emotional lability, mood swings, feelings of hopelessness., compromised cognitive function, memory loss, poor concentration.
Dopamine boosting foods
Dopamine is made from the amino acid tyrosine. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. The body makes tyrosine from another amino acid called phenylalanine. So, eating a diet high in tyrosine gives you the basic building blocks needed for dopamine production. Here’s a list of foods, drinks, and spices known to increase dopamine:
All animal products, almonds, apples, avocado, bananas, beets, chocolate, green tea, coffee – but these contain caffeine and are very acid-forming due to their alkaloid content, so best avoided
Green leafy vegetables, oatmeal / porridge oats, sea vegetables, sesame and pumpkin seeds, turmeric, watermelon wheat germ.
Pre- and pro-biotics – foods high in natural probiotics such as yogurt, kefir, and raw sauerkraut can also increase natural dopamine production.
Supplements that can raise dopamine healthily, naturally and safely
Increase dopamine with meditation
It’s been shown that meditation increases dopamine. Regular mediators experience an enhanced ability to learn, increased creativity, and deep relaxation. Hobbies have similar effect, including knitting, quilting, sewing, drawing, colouring, listening to music and DIY as they can all create a meditative state.
Studies show that it takes only 45 days to balance your dopamine levels for optimal functioning. Diet is not about eating less but being conscious of what we eat so the next time you shop be conscious of what you put in the trolley. Why not set yourself a date with a realistic target and give it a try, I guarantee you will feel better, more alive and grounded.