There is a reason that people like to eat sugar, it makes us feel good. Sugar is one of those foods that signal feel good receptors, called dopamine, in our brain. Dopamine is usually referred to as the happy hormone. When our brain releases dopamine it gives us a boost in our mood. Many people know it isn’t healthy to consume a lot of sugar. The good news is that there are a lot of foods that contain tyrosine which is an amino acid necessary to make dopamine.
Try some alternative food choices to boost dopamine:
- Fruits: apples, bananas, strawberries and blueberries.
- Protein: Cottage cheese, cheese, milk, yogurt, almonds, chicken, turkey, fish (especially ones that have Omega 3 fatty acids), eggs, black beans and chick peas.
Exercise is also known to boost the release of dopamine. Aim for 30 minutes of aerobic exercise daily to maximize the happy hormone effect.
So next time you need a boost of happy, grab a healthy food instead of one saturated with sugar or go on a walk to feel good.
By Molly McBrayer, clinical manager, Roper St. Francis Bariatrics & Metabolic Services