Every day we all wake up and eat. It’s one of the activities we all have to do to stay alive. Food provides the fuel our body needs to function properly. Not everyone looks at it that way though. While almost all of us eat things that we really shouldn’t, some people actually suffer from a behavioral addiction related to food.
Yes, food addiction is a real problem. Studies show that sugary or fatty foods can cause the brain of a food addict to react similarly to the brain of someone on drugs. Eating triggers the dopamine center in the brain and causes the person to feel good. When something feels good, you want to keep doing it. That’s how food addiction happens.
What are behavioral addiction solutions for those people, you ask? While a complicated issue, therapy can teach them to manage their disorder.
So, are food addicts the only people who experience this feel-good response? The answer is no, there are things that can increase your dopamine naturally and they aren’t bad for you!
The Feel Good Neurotransmitter
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays a key role in many of your body’s functions. It helps with motivation, the coordination of body movements and reward. The chemical is known as the feel-good neurotransmitter because your brain releases it when you are doing something pleasurable like having intercourse or eating.
The Dopamine Diet
Who doesn’t want to eat food and trigger a happy dance in their brain? Nobody, that’s who. There’s actually a diet to help boost your mood and make you feel good. Some people may even lose weight by following it.
Although unhealthy foods, those high in processed sugar and fat, can cause your brain to release dopamine, healthy food can too. According to an article published on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) website, some fruits, veggies, beans and dairy contain the chemical.
Scientists don’t know a whole lot about it because the data is insufficient so far. In any case, the food the NIH points to are all things that you should incorporate in your diet.
Instead of cooking your food in vegetable oil choose oils that are high in monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats and other vitamins.
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Avocado oil
- Sunflower oil
- Peanut oil
- Walnut oil
- Sesame oil
- Flaxseed oil
Fruits and Vegetables
Everyone knows they should eat more fruits and vegetables. Not only does the NIH say the following ones contain dopamine but other research suggests consuming them helps you live longer.
Beans are an excellent source of fiber, iron, potassium, and other vitamins. They’re one of those foods that give you a lot of bang per spoonful.
- Green beans
- Wax beans
- Lima beans
- Fava beans
Meat and Fish
These foods can help make your brain dance and they’re a great source of protein.
- Lean beef
Chocolate and Nuts
You didn’t think you’d have to live your life without chocolate, did you? That would have just been sad. Although milk chocolate isn’t great, dark chocolate is and it also contains antioxidants.
Don’t forget to munch on some nuts while you’re at it. Almonds and walnuts are particularly good.
Change the Way You Eat
You’ll probably notice that all of the food here is stuff you’ve heard is healthy before. You might even eat many of them already. That’s great, you’re on the right track. Remember to eat regularly, though. Being “hangry” is a real thing and if you aren’t eating often, there’s not enough dopamine rich food in the world to make you happy.