Dopamine is basically a chemical messenger or a neurotransmitter that is produced in the brain by the hypothalamus. It is released when we do an activity that we feel pleasurable. Our brain release more dopamine when we put more focus on pleasurable activities. Have you given a thought – why you enjoy watching a movie (thriller, romantic, or comedy) and never get bored of it, hanging out with friends, or watching a cricket or baseball match?.
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Activities that promote dopamine release in the body
Eating junk food triggers the release of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine release encourages a person to crave more junk food. This is the reason it is very difficult for people to do fasting or follow a healthy diet plan.
In a study conducted by Havard University1, very high levels of dopamine are released when we are attracted to someone. This high level of dopamine release makes us feel energetic all the time. Some people experience insomnia, decreased appetite, etc. Due to this pleasurable feeling, our brain becomes more dependent on dopamine. Once we become tolerant to a certain level of dopamine in the body, our body requires more dopamine to feel good this is the reason why some activity that made us feel good at a certain time is not pleasurable anymore. Therefore people who feel hurt in love end up having a hard breakup.
Sexual activity and Masturbation
There is a combination of neurotransmitters that are evolved in sexual activities but among all the neurotransmitters, dopamine is extensively studied. We feel pleasure before, during, and after sexual activity due to the dopamine rush. The same thing happens with masturbation, it gives a feeling of pleasure to the body by triggering the central nervous system to release dopamine and hence reducing stress levels.
Mobile phone use
Do you know? Certain apps are designed in a way that releases dopamine from our brain. The vibrant color of certain apps, notification sounds, online games, or getting more likes on social media actually increase the release of dopamine from our brain forcing us to do the activity again. Programmers work very hard in the background to design these things which will stimulate dopamine release.
Studies2 have shown that gambling releases dopamine in the brain similar to those activated by taking drugs.
What is dopamine detox?
We need to understand that dopamine is the reason we become addicted to certain activities. Here comes the term dopamine detox. In simple terms avoid engaging in activities that involve dopamine release. The brain needs to be involved in activities that seem boring but are right for you. I know it might sound impractical! But let’s try some easy steps.
By doing dopamine detox we are actually re-centering and refocusing our brain on some productive activities which are right for us. Many successful entrepreneurs and businessman follows this dopamine detox plan. They involve themself in productive activities that release dopamine and hence help them become more successful which triggers more dopamine.
The best way to follow a dopamine detox plan is to set a goal that is not much pleasurable but is right for you and then give a reward to yourself at end of the successful completion of the activity. The reward could be actually something which you love.
The trick is to do it in the right way and maintain a diary to keep a track of your activities and goals. Try meaningful activities that can raise dopamine levels naturally, it could be gardening, dancing, gym workout, listening to peaceful music, and mindfulness.
What is the dopamine diet?
The dopamine diet is the solution for dealing with enormous mood swings, keeps you motivated throughout your weight loss journey, and gives you a faster result. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is secreted by the hypothalamus which makes us feel pleasurable and happy. The key is to eat dopamine-promoting food and keep your food cravings at a bay. Dopamine detox and dopamine diet may sound a bit unknown but they have amazing benefits. Do you know? Tom Kerridge actually lost 70 kilograms in 2 years by following Dopamine Diet. The concept of the dopamine diet is to eat what you love therefore it is easier to follow than Keto or Mediterranean diet. In a dopamine detox diet plan you can actually eat what you love, it could be mouth-watering chocolates or beef. When you eat what you love, it promotes the happy hormone Dopamine and hence helps you deal with mood swings and food cravings. Here are a few steps to follow during a Dopamine Diet to keep you motivated and happy throughout the weight loss journey;
1. Diet rich in protein
There are 23 types of amino acids that our body needs. Some are essential proteins and other is non-essential proteins. Essential proteins are those that our body requires from outside sources and non-essential proteins are produced inside the body. Amino Acid Tyrosine plays an important role in the production of dopamine, and Tyrosin in turn is produced from phenylalanine. When these two important proteins are eliminated from the body, it leads to low levels of dopamine in the body hence, we lose energy and motivation.
The food rich in Tyrosine are; Sesame seeds, Flax seeds, Cheese, Soybeans, Meat and Poultry, Fish, and Nuts.
2. Choose unsaturated fats over saturated fats
A study was conducted on rats to test the effect of saturated fats on their dopamine signaling. It was found that rats that consumed saturated fats had low dopamine signaling and there was no change in their weight and body fats. They were less energetic and less motivated. Also, it leads to poor memory and impaired cognitive function. The key is to eat rich in unsaturated fats;
- Avocados and avocado oil
- olives and olive oil
- fatty fish, such as salmon and mackerel
- vegetable oils, such as sunflower, corn, or canola
- peanut butter and peanut oil
- nuts and seeds, such as almonds, peanuts, cashews, and sesame seeds
3. Eating a lot of probiotics
There is a direct connection between gut and brain health. As we know our stomach is known as our second brain. According to a study, the good bacteria present in a stomach produces dopamine which enhances the mood and reduces the stress level in the body.
4. Fun weight loss through yoga
Do you know? One hour of yoga every day can boost the release of dopamine secretion in the body by up to 25%.
5. Cindrella sleep
Sounds weird? Right? When do not take enough sleep, the dopamine levels in the body are significantly reduced. High-quality sleep helps to maintain dopamine balance in the body. It is evident that people who work night shifts have more mood swings and there is a significant increase in their weight. Dopamine level is naturally high in the morning and reduces during the evening.
You can also try Sudharsahan Kriya to boost your dopamine levels.
6. Get an adequate amount of sunshine
Sunlight exposure is the best way to boost your dopamine level during your weight loss journey. The best way is to do a “Surya Namaskar” and expose it to the morning sunshine.It is the best way to take the benefits of both yoga + sunshine. It is best for girls suffering from PCOD (Polycystic ovarian disease) and who are trying to lose weight. Irregular hormonal levels during PCOD affect mood and it is an excellent way to balance your PCOD symptoms.
7. Weight loss with dopamine boosting supplements
Our body needs certain vitamins and minerals to produce dopamine in the body. These vitamins include Vitamin B6, magnesium, vitamin D, curcumin, oregano extract, and green tea. These supplements help to provide important nutrition to the body. You can gain these vitamins and minerals through various food sources. Now you know very well about the dopamine detox and dopamine diet!
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