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  • Writer's pictureMalvika Malhotra

The FEEL GOOD Hormone

Oh ya.. I am sure a lot of you might have heard about "THE FEEL GOOD" hormone, also known as Dopamine. Right here you are going to going to find out "All you need to know about the Feel Good Hormone".

Dopamine, the feel good hormone is a type of neurotransmitter which is made by our body. The nervous system acts as a messenger that sends the messages to the nerve cells. Our brain uses the amino acid, tyrosine (protein) and changes to a substance called dopa and then into dopamine. Therefore for the production of dopamine it is essential to have adequate amounts of Tyrosine. Tyrosine can also be made from another amino acid Phenylalanine. Hence both of these play an integral role in the production of Dopamine.

Dopamine is associated with several behavioral and physical functions like - learning, memory, sensation, well being, pain, motor system, motivation, attention and more.

When the FEEL GOOD hormone is released in large amounts, it creates positive feelings like reward, pleasure, motivation and in contrast, its's low levels can reduced motivation.

But guess what..?

There are several ways that can help increase this hormone naturally. Here are some of them listed below -

1. Protein Rich Foods - Protein sources rich in tyrosine and phenylalanine can increase the dopamine levels. These amino acids are naturally present in, legumes, soy, dairy and its products, beef, turkey and eggs.

2. Reduced Saturated Fats - Studies suggest that diet or food high in fats may increase inflammation in our body in turn leading to alterations in the dopamine levels or disrupt the dopamine signaling in the brain. Foods high in them are - animal fat, full fat products (dairy, oils, butter), etc.

3. Gut Friendly Foods - By now most of you'll might already know that Gut is also referred to as the "second brain". The reason behind this is that our Gut contains nerve cells that produce neurotransmitter signals of which Dopamine is one of them. Therefore it is essential that gut friendly foods, probiotics and prebiotics be included in the diet.

Probiotic rich foods are - Yogurt, Kefir, Sour Pickles, Sourdough Breads, Sauerkraut.

Prebiotic rich foods are - Onion, Garlic, Oats, Beetroot, Cranberry, Citrus Fruits, Mushroom.

4. Exercise Regularly - A good physical activity involving cardio, raise in hear beat has been found very beneficial in improving mood, in turn boosting the dopamine levels. Also the motor control and movement involved in performing the exercises has a significant effect on the dopamine system. All in all a good regular physical activity and exercise of good intensity and time has been promising in showing the increased dopamine levels, hence make it a part of your routine for the "feel good" feeling.

5. Sleep Well - Our brain releases dopamine an that creates a feeling of alertness and wakefulness. Which means, lack of sleep or disturbed sleep or improper sleep can reduce the availability dopamine receptors by the next morning. This reduction in dopamine comes with other side effects like lack of concentration, poor motor skills, reduced concentration, etc. Hence for an optimal health and a good production of dopamine levels, a good nights sleep of 7-8 hours, getting to bed at the same time each night, reduced screen time a hour before bed time, should all be followed.

6. Art - Any form of art like singing, listening to music, dancing, painting, reading, story telling, meditation, etc that makes you feel good and calm are the ones increasing the production of dopamine. That's the reason when anyone is feeling low they are usually asked to do something that would make them feel good and calm. Performing or doing or involving yourself into your favorite art may help improve your motor skills in-turn improving your dopamine levels. This has also found to be beneficial for individuals with medical conditions like Parkinson's, ADHD, Dyslexia, Depression, etc. Hence make it a routine to do something that you like doing on a regular basis.

7. Going Outdoor - Most of you might not like cloudy, rainy or extremely cold gloomy days. The sight of it itself might make you feel depressed. But on the other hand, a bright sunny day with fresh air might elevate the mood. This is because some studies have shown that exposure to sunlight has a direct effect on uplifting the mood, in-turn increasing the production of dopamine. Therefor the right amount of exposure for the right time and on regular basis is essential for the health and mood.

8. Routine health check-up - Along with amino acids, several other vitamins and minerals also play a key role in creating dopamine, like - folate, iron, Vitamin B6 and niacin. Deficiency of any of these vitamins and minerals can affect the production of dopamine. therefore it is necessary to get a regular health check-up and make necessary changes in lifestyle and diet to overcome the deficiency. Incase of extreme deficiency and if recommended by the physician, supplements can also be consumed. Self recommendation should definitely be avoided.

Overall to "Feel Good" your motive should be that your "feel Good Hormone", Dopamine are produced in adequate quantity. And that is possible with necessary lifestyle changes which will help your body produce the dopamine naturally and also make your brain function at its best.

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