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What is dopamine and how to introduce it through diet

Dopamine diet

Lack of motivation can also be combated through diet: the key is a neurotransmitter, its name is dopamine.

Do you feel unmotivated ? When you reach a goal don’t you feel that pleasant sense of contentment that you should feel? The reason may be a dopamine deficiency. Also known as the hormone or neurotransmitter of motivation , dopamine has numerous beneficial effects, emotionally, on our body. In contrast, a person suffering from depression or lack of motivation has minimal indices of this hormone.

In today’s article we will find out in more detail what the neurotransmitter of motivation is and how it works . In addition, we will see how to produce more by following a correct diet .

Dopamine: what it is and how it works

Dopamine is an endogenous neurotransmitter , or a substance that carries information between neurons. In particular, this hormone is synthesized directly in the brain from an essential amino acid, phenylalanine .

Its operation can be explained through some examples . Have you ever been in love? During a relationship there is something that pushes us to act selflessly, without wanting to receive anything in return, to satisfy the other person. Similarly, in a stressful situation or in a negative period (but the same goes for a positive period), you may feel a kind of force that pushes you to work to achieve a goal. This motivation is caused by dopamine.

woman head pain
Photo source: https://pixabay.com/it/photos/donna-triste-depressione-2609115/

The neurotransmitter urges us to achieve a certain goal and, once achieved, grants us a reward . In fact, even the sense of fulfillment that follows the realization of an intent (even in the case of an altruistic and selfless gesture that made another person happy) is regulated by the dopamine hormone.

Not surprisingly, the researchers found that, in people suffering from depression or lack of motivation , the indices of this neurotransmitter are significantly lower than average.

Low dopamine? The foods that help produce it

Increasing motivation through diet is possible. In fact, by taking a greater number of foods containing phenylalanine , an essential amino acid from which dopamine originates, it is possible to increase the production of the hormone.

Pork meat
Photo source: https://pixabay.com/it/photos/carne-di-maiale-a-base-di-carne-523102/

Mainly, phenylalanine is contained in protein foods . It is therefore possible to take it through meat and offal (especially the liver ) and through legumes . It is also contained in eggs , milk and its derivatives and fish .

However, although the motivation neurotransmitter is synthesized in the brain, the intestine is also involved in the production process. For this reason, it is necessary to keep it healthy and never make it lack prebiotic and probiotic fibers .

The former can be found in different foods, among which we find walnuts, oats, onions, apples, bananas and pears. The latter are instead typical of fermented foods . Some examples are sauerkraut and miso, but also kefir and yogurt.

Photo source: https://pixabay.com/it/photos/cibo-prodotti-rustico-verdure-1898194/

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