- Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate movement, emotional responses, and your ability to feel pleasure.
- You can increase dopamine in your brain by eating foods that are rich in tyrosine, exercising, and getting enough sleep.
- You can also increase dopamine by taking supplements such as probiotics, magnesium, and vitamin D.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. It also helps regulate movement and emotional responses, and it plays a role in motivation, learning, and memory. Scientists believe dopamine may also be involved in addiction.
A dopamine deficiency can lead to feelings of sadness, fatigue, and low motivation. You may also experience cravings, sleep problems, and difficulty focusing. Increasing dopamine levels may improve your mood and motivation and reduce cravings and impulsivity.
Here are 9 science-backed ways to increase dopamine levels naturally.
1. Eat healthy foods
The first step to increase dopamine levels is to eat a healthy diet. Eating nutritious foods helps your body function optimally, which includes producing dopamine. Foods that are rich in nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids are all excellent for supporting dopamine production.
Some specific foods that have been linked to increased dopamine levels include:
- Tyrosine-rich foods: Tyrosine is an amino acid that the body uses to make dopamine. Foods high in tyrosine include almonds, avocados, bananas, beef, chicken, dairy products, eggs, green beans, green peas, oysters, pumpkin seeds, salmon, seafood, sesame seeds, soybeans, sunflower seeds, sweet potatoes, Swiss chard, tomatoes watercress.
- Fermented foods: Fermented foods are rich in probiotics — live bacteria that offer health benefits when consumed. Probiotics help boost the immune system and have been linked to increased levels of dopamine. Some fermented foods include yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, natto, tempeh, and kefir.
- Cruciferous vegetables: Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, kale, radishes, turnips, and watercress contain sulfur-containing compounds called glucosinolates. Glucosinolates are associated with increased levels of dopamine.
2. Exercise regularly
Exercise increases levels of dopamine by promoting the release of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). BDNF is a protein that helps to support the health of dopamine neurons.
3. Get enough sleep
Getting enough quality shut-eye is important for overall health and well-being. It can also help increase dopamine levels. One study showed that people who slept less than 7 hours per night had lower levels of tyrosine — an amino acid needed to make dopamine. Another study found that sleep deprivation led to reduced activity in regions of the brain responsible for reward processing. Make sure you’re getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night to keep your dopamine levels up.
4. Limit Alcohol Consumption
Drinking alcohol can temporarily increase dopamine levels; however, chronic alcohol abuse can lead to long-term decreases in dopamine production. If you drink alcohol regularly, limit yourself to 2 drinks per day for men or 1 drink per day for women.
5. Quit Smoking
Like alcohol, smoking cigarettes alters dopamine signaling in the brain. Cigarette smoke contains nicotine, which binds to receptors in the brain and increases dopamine release. This makes cigarettes highly addictive and can lead to long-term changes in brain function. If you smoke cigarettes, quitting smoking is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your general health, both physically and mentally.
Also Read: How to Quit Smoking in 5 Easy Steps
6. Listen to Music
Listening to music activates the brain’s reward center and increases dopamine release. Put on your favorite tunes and let the dopamine flow!
7. Spend Time with Friends and Family
Spending time with loved ones releases oxytocin, which has calming and happy effects. Oxytocin also leads to an increase in dopamine production.
8. Do Something You Love
When you’re doing something you love, your brain releases dopamine as a reward for enjoying yourself. Follow your passions and let the good times roll!
Meditation has been shown to reduce stress and improve focus and concentration. It can also help increase dopamine production by reducing inflammation throughout the body.
10. Take supplements
Certain supplements have been shown to increase dopamine levels in the brain. These include fish oil, magnesium, probiotics, vitamin D, ginkgo, and ginseng.
There are many things you can do to increase your brain’s production of dopamine naturally. Eat a healthy diet rich in tyrosine-containing foods like beef and salmon, as well as cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and kale. Exercise regularly and get 7-8 hours of sleep every night. Limit your alcohol consumption and quit smoke. Listen to music, spend time with loved ones, do something you love, and meditate regularly to reduce stress and increase dopamine production. You can also try taking supplements like fish oil, vitamin D, ginkgo, and ginseng to increase dopamine levels in the brain.
Also Read: 10 Ways to Increase Serotonin in the Brain