In going with Tuesday’s post on sleep, I thought we would discuss a neurotransmitters, that I’m actually surprised we haven’t covered yet- dopamine. Like all things coming from your brain dopamine plays some very important roles. Besides being essential to cognition, dopamine is responsible for:
- behavior (decreased levels thought to contribute to ADD)
- cognition (decline effects memory, attention, and problem-solving)
- voluntary movement (Parkinson’s Disease is a hard-hitter here, dopamine deficiency is associated with this condition)
- motivation and reward (pleasure system, something is rewarding: sex, drugs, food, etc. we repeat the behavior and cause of the happiness).
- prolactin production (affecting breast milk and lactation)
So how can we obtain optimal dopamine levels?
- Sleep: this is when the brain recovers and revs up your neurotransmitters again.
- Controlling Stress: increased stress is associated with dopamine deficiency
- Exercise: blood circulation increase affects hormones and dopamine in the bloodstream
- Proper eating: Steer clear of sugar foods and alcohol that have negative affects on dopamine. Encourage consumption of foods rich in antioxidants or eat in a way that decreases free radical damage and inflammation (hmm- fat-burner) because free radical have a negative connotation on dopamine. Foods rich in protein, especially the amino acid tyrosine are a precursor to dopamine. Think turkey and salmon especially (or fish oil anyone?). Other beneficial foods:
- grass-fed dairy
- pasture-raised eggs
- leafy green like mustard greens
This sounds so familiar, interesting? BE happy: sleep, relax, and eat like a fat-burner and you’ll have one happy brain and neurotransmitters! For more on our fat-burner weight loss programs check out our website at bodychange.net.
Also check out Tuesday’s blog on sleep: