Motivation, coordination, imagination, projection into the future… Dopamine is an essential neurotransmitter for our balance and well-being. Discover 12 natural tips to boost your dopamine!
What is dopamine? What is its role? Where to find dopamine in food? Which plant contains dopamine? Juliette Montier, the naturopath, explains everything we need to know about dopamine, and gives us her wise advice to boost it naturally!
What is dopamine?
Dopamine is one of the neurotransmitters (chemical molecules that transmit messages from one neuron to another) essential to our balance.
Mainly synthesized in the midbrain and in the nucleus of the hypothalamus, as Juliette Montier explains, dopamine plays a fundamental role on several levels:
- initiation to action
- fine motor skills
- motor and intellectual coordination
- the projection and anticipation of the future
- project development
- the circuit of reward and pleasure
“From the catecholamine family, dopamine is made from tyrosine and phenylalanine, two essential amino acids, present in our diet,” says the naturopath.
What is the role of dopamine?
“The dopaminergic network is linked to the search for pleasure, reward and promotes the active avoidance of punishment,” explains Juliette Montier.
This system makes us understand when an action is adapted to our preservation: the reward circuit is activated when we hydrate while we are very thirsty, or when we eat healthy food.
Dopamine is therefore involved in the process of motivation, initiation of action, exploration of novelty. It is then norepinephrine that takes over (made from dopamine) and allows to continue the action, to promote vigilance, concentration, learning.
“By extension, dopamine, followed by norepinephrine, therefore promotes joie de vivre and self-esteem!” adds the specialist.
In which foods to find dopamine?
To synthesize dopamine, our body needs good sources of protein, as well as many cofactors.
To promote good intake of phenylalanine (precursor amino acid), it is necessary to put on the menu:
- brown rice (previously well soaked)
- soybeans (preferably from France)
- organic free-air eggs
- small fatty wild fish (sardines, mackerel…)
- legumes (ideally soaked to rid them of their phytic acid).
To promote good intake of tyrosine (amino acid precursor of dopamine) remember to add on your plates:
- other varieties of whole grains (always previously well
- wheat germ
- rehydrated whole almonds
- pumpkin seeds
- ham (organic and nitrite-free)
- sheep/goat cheese
- leafy green vegetables (cabbage, arugula, turnip leaves…)
Also, as the naturopath specifies, for “a good transformation of tyrosine into L-Dopa and then dopamine”, our body needs iron, calcium, vitamins B2, B3, B6, B9, B12, magnesium, copper, and vitamin C.
These micronutrients and minerals are present in our vegetables, whole grains legumes, and oilseeds, which is why it is important to adopt a balanced and varied diet!
Plants to stimulate dopamine production
Not only is diet interesting to act on dopamine levels, but some plants can also give a boost.
Plants that stimulate dopamine production:
- Mucuna,this tropical plant of the fabaceae family, rich in L-dopa will stimulate the transformation of dopamine precursors.
- Saffron,will inhibit the reuptake of dopamine.
- Green tea, guarana, ginseng and rhodiola,will inhibit the breakdown of dopamine.
We can also turn to plants that have a global action on the nervous system, and that will also act on the dopamine cycle:
- Passionflower,also known to soothe the nervous system
- Rosemary,also known for its protective effect of brain networks and organs, against the harms of oxidative stress, thus stimulating cognition and memory.
The advice of the naturopath: rich in active ingredients, plants must be used with knowledge and respecting certain rules. If you wish to undertake a cure, seek the advice of a competent practitioner to advise you based on your state of health, the treatments you are undergoing, and your medical/family history.
Dopamine: what are the food supplements that boost it?
The laboratories offer interesting complexes for their combinations of cofactors (vitamins + minerals), amino acids (mentioned above including L-Dopa) precursors of dopamine, as Juliette Montier explains.
Be careful with the choice of these supplements, which must be done with the advice of a professional, depending on your situation, your medical history, your current treatments …
Organic rhythm, breakfast… Naturally boost your dopamine
Respect your biological rhythm
To begin with, as the naturopath specifies, to naturally boost dopamine, it is essential to respect chronobiology, that is to say to our biological rhythms.
Sleep is considered an essential factor in good physical, emotional and intellectual health, provided that our sleep is nocturnal, natural, and recuperative, she adds.
It is important to respect our night rest needs, our sleep needs, and to limit screens before bedtime.
Stock up on tyrosine at breakfast
Dopamine is secreted in the morning, hence the interest of consuming a breakfast rich in animal or vegetable proteins containing tyrosine.
For example, a boiled egg, accompanied by two toasts of traditional sourdough rye bread, some aromatic plant leaves(coriander, basil, parsley, dill…) to brighten up the taste buds, and some almonds (previously soaked).
You can vary with goat/sheep cheese/coconut milk yogurt with chia seeds and two slices of quinoa flour bread/brown rice.
“Treat yourself by taking the joyful path of the unsweetened breakfast!” recommends Juliette Montier.
Regular physical activity
Regular physical activity, if possible outdoors in contact with natural elements, is also a good way to naturally boost dopamine.
Physical activity activates the reward area, the release of dopamine, and provides a feeling of well-being. It also increases the supply of blood and oxygen to our nervous system.
“Like sports, all activities that provide pleasure will promote the synthesis of dopamine. That’s why I invite you to promote activities that put you in action and that do you good: painting, singing, dancing, laughing, cuddling, smiling, cooking, being in touch with your loved ones, practicing activities that make sense for you.”
Finally, mindfulness meditation is also an ally, allowing us to strengthen our concentration and our ability to relax.
Thanks to Juliette Montier, Naturopath, www.juliette-montier-naturopathe.fr