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Increase Dopamine Levels Naturally and Beat Depression Without Pills
Dopamine is word that gets tossed around, but you might be wondering what dopamine is, exactly, and why you would want more of it. Essentially, dopamine is a chemical your brain produces that makes you feel good and have plenty of self-confidence. If you have ever felt yourself get super excited when making plans for a vacation or when you complete a big project, that happy sense of self satisfaction or anticipation is dopamine at work. You get a rush of dopamine many times when you eat something you really enjoy, and almost everyone feels it after sex.
However, when our brains don’t make enough dopamine, we feel depressed, slow, and uninterested in life. Many people turn to prescription drugs to increase their dopamine levels, but these often come with a high price in side effects.
Some people see depression as a type of personality defect, but this isn’t the case. Depression is an actual disease that causes physiologic changes in the brain. Depressed people don’t have personality defects, they have a medical problem that needs to be addressed. For many people, the problem is simply low dopamine levels.
You don’t need to choose between drugs or depression, however. We are going to show you 10 ways you can naturally increase your dopamine levels so that you don’t have to suffer either with the side effects of drugs or live with the blues. Keep reading because getting a dose of dopamine is much easier than you might think.
1. Stop Getting High from Sugar
Sugar dramatically alters your brain chemistry by interrupting your body’s production of dopamine. Sugar is similar to drugs and alcohol in that it stimulates pathways that make you feel happy and excited for a short time. Unfortunately, it also depletes the levels of dopamine in your brain. You want to feel that happy feeling again, so you eat more sugar, you feel good, you crash, so you eat more sugar, and on and on and on. Sugar truly is addictive and now you know why. So first, cut back on sugar as much as possible. If you have severe sugar cravings that you don’t feel you can control, try taking chromium picolinate supplements as these have been shown to reduce sugar cravings.
2. Decrease Your Caffeine
Although coffee gives us a much needed boost in the mornings, like sugar, it is only temporary. After the initial kick of caffeine is over, dopamine levels in the body decrease. So if you feel you need coffee to get going, enjoy one cup. After that, go decaf or drink plain water.
3. Get Sufficient Magnesium
If your body is low on magnesium, it is probably also low in dopamine. Common symptoms of a magnesium deficiency include high blood pressure, cravings for sugar or salt, muscle pain or spasms, headaches, and irritability. Your doctor can do tests but they aren’t always accurate. Try taking a good magnesium supplement or use a magnesium lotion or oil.
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4. Get Your Tyrosine On!
Your brain must have tyrosine in order to make dopamine. Foods that are high in tyrosine are bananas, dairy, almonds, lima beans, pumpkin seeds, avocados, diary, meat and poultry, and sesame seeds can all give your body the tyrosine it needs so that it can make plenty of dopamine.
5. Get Regular Exercise
Regular exercise increases calcium in the blood, which also stimulates dopamine release in your brain. Just 30 minutes per day of swimming, walking, jogging, dancing, and any type of exercise will work. Exercise will also increase your endorphin levels. Belly laughs, stretching (such as yoga), playing with your kids, increases endorphins, which gives you another type of happy feeling, but not as long lasting as a dopamine high.
6. Get Your Z’s
Your body can’t make dopamine in levels that will help you if you don’t get sufficient amounts of sleep. Dopamine gives you those wide awake feelings, so if you want to be happy and alert, get a minimum of 7 hours sleep each night.
7. Increase those Antioxidants
Free radicals are constantly inside our bodies, cruising around, looking for some nice cells to attack, such as the brain cells that produce dopamine. Antioxidants kill those free radicals so those vital cells can do their jobs. Fruits and vegetables are loaded with antioxidants. Some of natural foods with the highest levels of antioxidants include broccoli, beets, carrots, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, cauliflower, oranges, leafy greens, peppers, berries, nuts and sunflower seeds. Eating as many raw fruits and vegetables as you can will go a long way towards allowing your brain cells to make plenty of dopamine.
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8. Keep a Regular Schedule
OK, maybe this doesn’t sound like fun, but it’s vital for your health. Make a regular routine that includes work, play, and at least 7 hours of sleep each night. Be sure to add in time to get exercise. Under sleeping, over sleeping and/or a lack of exercise can literally be a brain drain. Prioritize your schedule so that you can fit everything in, including time for fun and relaxation. This is just as important as exercise or sleep. Which will bring us to our next point…
9. Decrease Your Stress Levels
Those who are suffering from high stress often have low levels of dopamine. Occasionally stress can be caused by poor adrenal function, but for most people, it’s the stress of everyday life that kicks our butts. Although you can’t remove all stress, most of us can find ways to limit our stress or find ways to deal with it. Chronic, unrelenting stress is absolutely deadly to your health, so be sure you deal with it in whatever way is necessary; whether it’s cutting back on activities, changing jobs, removing toxic people from your life, and taking up mediation. Do what works for you, but be sure that you do something.
10. Take Vitamins and Supplements
Unless you know that you are eating a super healthy diet, you are more than likely lacking in some of the important minerals and vitamins your body needs to work at its absolute best. Buy some high quality multivitamins with minerals to be sure that your supply of the key nutrients that your body needs is ample enough so that your brain can produce dopamine. Be aware of toxins in your vitamins and supplements.