Our last article looked at how to activate your happiness chemicals by the things you can actively do. Now, let’s switch it up and look at the foods you can eat to activate each specific chemical. Lockdown has been extended once again and 8th March seems like it is a life time away. Despite these difficult times, we want you to be your happiest and healthiest. If you combine the things you can actively do and the things you can eat to activate your happiness chemicals, theoretically there will be nothing standing in your way to feel your happiest!
If you missed our last article, here is a little bit of background. There are four primary chemicals in your body that influence your happiness. Otherwise known as the happiness DOSE: dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin and endorphins. Each one plays a different role and can be triggered by different experiences.
Dopamine is a type of neurotransmitter that sends messages between nerve cells in the nervous system and plays a role in how we feel pleasure. Neurons that release dopamine are triggered when we expect to receive a reward and in turn can act as a motivator.
The ‘dopamine diet’ is known as the weight loss regime that boosts your mood too. Recent studies have shown that overweight people may have impairments in dopamine pathways which can lead to an increase in reward seeking behaviour such as over-eating. There are many different variations of this diet but the main gist of it is cutting out alcohol, caffeine, processed sugar and starchy carbohydrates.
Here are some foods that activate dopamine:
- Dark chocolate
- Dairy – milk, yogurt, cheese
- Unprocessed meats – chicken, beef
- Nuts – almonds and walnuts
Serotonin is the hormone responsible for stabilising our mood. Did you know most of the serotonin in your body is found in your gut, not in your brain? It also plays a huge role in promoting healthy digestion as well as affecting the quality and quantity of your sleep. This is because serotonin is needed to produce melatonin which is responsible for the proper functioning of our sleep cycle.
Here are some foods that activate serotonin:
- Seeds – add them onto your salad or cereal or try out seeded bread
Endorphins act as analgesics, which means they diminish the perception of pain. They are released in response to pain or stress, but they are also released during other activities such as eating and exercise.
Here are some foods that activate endorphins:
- Spicy foods – your body jumps to the rescue against the heat of spicy foods and releases endorphins that act as a painkiller!
- Brown rice
- Cacao or dark chocolate
Oxytocin is known as the love hormone and has the power to regulate our emotional responses. It is also associated with trust, empathy, positive memories and relationship building. Research has shown that oxytocin has been linked with lowering levels of stress and anxiety.
Here are some foods that activate oxytocin:
- Green tea
At Love Yourself, we pride ourselves on designing meals with your health in mind. We source only the most natural and freshest ingredients that are packed with essential nutrients that will boost your metabolism and keep your immune system healthy. We want you to be your happiest and healthiest so place your order today!
By Pooja Depala