A non-inspirational road for happiness (ft. Dopamine)
Tired of reading cheesy quotes on the internet to feel a bit of joy? Look no further, Introducing dopamine.
Dopamine is a chemical messenger that acts as a reward which gives a feeling of pleasure and happiness. And low levels of dopamine can cause reduced motivation and happiness. So here are some ways to be more happy with the help of our friend dopamine.
The first stop in our journey is in protein. Proteins, which if you remember from high school biology, are made of small building blocks called amino acids. And, out of 23 different amino acids out there, there is one in particular that has an important role in the production of dopamine. Tyrosine.
Tyrosine is naturally found in foods full of protein like cheese, eggs, beans, soybeans, tofu, nuts, chicken, fish, and pork.
Fun Fact — the ‘Tyros’ in Tyrosine is Greek for ‘cheese’
Not only does tyrosine boost happiness, it also increases creativity. Studies show that an increased amount of tyrosine in the diet can promote deep thinking and improve memory.
So next time you feel a little down, have some cheese, or some protein filled with tyrosine. Your brain will thank you.
Probiotics are tiny living microorganisms that live in your gut — which is (fun fact) called the body’s “second brain” as it contains a large number of nerve cells that make many neurotransmitter signaling molecules (including dopamine!).
Even though probiotics and gut health has not been completely understood yet, it is clear that keeping those bacteria happy in the gut can help one lead a happier life.
Imagine a tiny ecosystem in your body, where there are good bacteria, and bad bacteria. The good bacteria, which are probiotics, spend their life killing the bad bacteria while keeping the gut flora in homeostasis (which is a sciency word for balance).
These tiny buddies in your gut also exist in food, which can be eaten to increase the number of good bacteria in the gut.
Probiotics can be found in yogurts, kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, watermelon, grapefruit, pickles, and bananas.
And now that we added more probiotics to the gut family, we need to feed them and keep them happy. And the way to do that is to give them prebiotics which are basically compounds in food that help the good bacteria grow and helps it covert tyrosine to dopamine.
Foods like chicory root, onions, garlic, asparagus, bananas, and artichokes are filled with fiber which makes the probiotic bacteria in your gut smile.
With this ecosystem working together the probiotics can live happily with it’s prebiotics, and the Tyrosine can break down which releases dopamine in the brain, making us live happily as well.
So next time you’re feeling sad or another pandemic occurs (please not another one) we can boost our mood without reading inspirational quotes.
By Kinnari Setty.