The neurotransmitter dopamine is the key factor in our lives. It’s responsible for motivation, productivity or focus and it has direct contribution to our levels of intelligence.
Without even being aware of it, dopamine is the chemical that we are looking for the most throughout our lives. Whenever you crave for a piece of chocolate, a cigar, or a glass of wine you are actually craving dopamine.
Dopamine has the opposite effects of depression, since it makes us feel safe.
It is a signaling compound in brain circuits that are crucial to creating positive mood states.
That’s why we feel good when we eat carbs and fats together (long-term satiating foods), when we earn money or whenever we have sex. All of these actions release dopamine which make us feel good about our survival in the future.
Scientists found a link between obesity and low levels of dopamine since fat people often use food as a “drug” to supplement for the lack of dopamine. The conclusion is that dopamine is good and necessary for your body.
However, you should stay away from temporary and unhealthy dopamine boosters such as sugar, alcohol, and drugs because long-term dopamine use leads to dopamine deficiency, as studies show.
Instead, you can use the following healthy and ways to increase dopamine naturally.
In This Article You Will Find:
7 Natural Ways to Increase Dopamine
1. Velvet Beans
Velvet beans are also called cowitch, werepe, karara or agbara, aka the dopamine beans. Their surface is itchy to touch due to serotonin on its surface. Serotonin, we all know is the happy hormone. These seemingly simple black beans naturally contain l-tyrosine and L-DOPA which are two precursors to dopamine. L-Tyrosine is the first natural dopamine booster to consider.
Cooking the beans prevents destroy the trypsin inhibitors in the beans, thus allowing for the proteins in the beans to be assimilated by the body. At the same time, cooking velvet beans destroys L-DOPA.
Scientific evidence show that velvet beans increase sperm quality and testosterone in infertile men, while lowering adrenaline (related to low fertility). In addition, it reduces cortisol, the stress hormone and has been seen to have beneficial results in reducing Parkinson’s disease symptoms. Parkinson’s patients are known to have extremely low dopamine levels in the brain.
Eating velvet beans naturally increases dopamine, by increased alertness, focus, cognition and overall well-being and even libido. They make great foods for the nervous system and the brain.
Also known as curcuma, turmeric has curcumin as main active ingredient. Studies have showed that curcumin has tremendous health benefits for the nervous system. Today we use it to treat oxidative and inflammatory conditions, including the metabolic syndrome, arthritis, and anxiety. Yes, curcumin in turmeric is an anti-depressant because it can model the release of serotonin and dopamine.
However, in order to get absorbed and boost dopamine, you need to take it together with black pepper. Black pepper has piperine as a main active ingredient. Piperine increase curcumin absorption by 2.000%. Another study showed that curcumin is more effective then the commonly used drug Prozac in treating depression.
So, yes, taken together with black pepper, turmeric is a natural dopamine booster, safe to use, even for those who don’t suffer from depression or other neurological problems.
3. Herbs that Increase Dopamine Naturally
- Ginkgo Biloba. A lab study on rats showed that the acylated flavonol constituents in ginkgo increase dopamine in the medial prefrontal cortex. Perhaps this explains why extracts of Ginkgo biloba improve cognitive function. It was found that taking 100 mg·kg−1/14 days/once daily can significantly increased extracellular dopamine and noradrenaline levels in humans.
- Rhodiola Rosea. The extract from rhodiola facilitates production and proliferation of dopamine-producing cells. The salidroside found in this medicinal herb is known for its antidepressant and anxiolytic actions. In cell studies, rhodiola extract directly activated four important neurotransmitters: norepinephrine, serotonin, dopamine, and acetylcholine.
- Ginseng. One of the most popular medicinal roots, native to both America and Asia, Ginseng provides neuro-protective effects on the dopaminergic-pathway which can help with ADHD. It is a well-known adaptogen, reducing stress, adrenal fatigue and boost mood. The saponins in Ginseng have a mechanisms involved in neuroprotection of dopaminergic neurons and can modulate the dopaminergic activity of the synaptic receptors.
- Omega 3 from Algae. Brain love fats, especially fatty acids derived from plant sources, like algae. Studies show that these fatty acids contribute to the development and maintenance of brain dopamine systems. The 2 acids found in Omega 3 EPA/DHA, are known for their role in regulating dopamine.
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4. Natural Dopamine Foods
- Green tea. It contains an amino acid called l-theanine, that can increase dopamine and serotonin naturally, with no side-effects. Elderly people who drink green tea regularly are less likely to get depressed, as a study from 2009 confirms. It also snowed improved learning abilities and less depression in healthy individuals. Due to the dopamine release, more studies claim that green tea consumption can also prevent Parkinson’s disease.
- Avocado. This tasty fruit we love has reported to contain high levels of dopamine. Avocado naturally contain a compound called tryptophan, which is also found in chocolate. Tryptophan is a pre-cursor to serotonin, which is another feel-good chemical, alongside dopamine.
- Bananas. Fruits of the Musa genus, including bananas and plantains are contain high levels of dopamine, especially the banana peel. Bananas contain catecholamines, derived from the amino acid l-tyrosine. Cavendish bananas, a type of banana, contain dopamine levels ranging from 80-560 mg per 100 g in the peel and 2.5-10 mg in the pulp, according to this study. So, yeah, go bananas!
- Fava beans are one of the few foods in the world that contain L-DOPA, which is a direct precursor of dopamine, but L-DOPA only converts into dopamine in the presence of vitamin B6 (avocados and bananas contain B6 naturally).
- Apples. These fruits contain quercetin, an antioxidant that increases the levels of dopamine and prevent Parkinson’s disease.
- Leafy greens. Spinach especially, but also other leafy greens are rich in folate, natural form of vitamin B9 that promotes dopamine synthesis.
- Beets. These “feel good foods” contain betaine, an amino acid with proven antidepressant action and stimulant for dopamine production.
- Green peas. Due to their high Vitamin B-6 content, peas stimulate the production of norepinephrine and dopamine.
- Nuts. Almonds, flaxseeds, sesame, pumpkin seeds contain a combination of Vitamin B, folate, magnesium and the amino acid tyrosine, all stimulating the production of dopamine.
5. Physical Exercise
Exercise also increases dopamine levels naturally. The “runner’s high” we get when we run for least 20 minutes is generated by increased levels of dopamine. That is why physical exercise is such an amazing and safe source of dopamine. Also, did you know that regular exercise is the number 1 immune system booster? Yes it is.
Recent studies show how meditating regularly can increase dopamine levels by 65%. Meditation has other amazing health benefits as well, such as reduced anxiety and depression, and an overall well being. It could actually be the increase in dopamine levels.
Studies show that listening to music is also correlated with increased levels of dopamine. It is such a pleasurable act for the mind and the spirit. Most of us go to music whenever we feel sad or need to unwind. Now you know why. Listening to binaural beats and music tuned to 432 Hz frequency (the natural frequency of the Earth) can bring more focus, peace and happiness into your life.
Other Ways to Increase Dopamine Naturally
- Cold showers of 14°C/57°F increase dopamine by 250%, as studies show.
- Therapeutic massages increase dopamine by 31%.
- Affection. And finally, there are also free methods of increasing dopamine naturally, such as giving someone a hug or petting your dog. More so, petting your dog will also boost their dopamine.
The key is to follow your excitement, not numb your anxiety.
Think about it whenever you’re looking for dopamine sources. There are healthy ways to keep your dopamine levels up and to feel good every day. Sugar, coffee, smoking, drinking alcohol and others of this sort, have tremendous negative long term impact. Stay safe and happy and choose your dopamine sources wisely!