Tis the season, ho ho ho and all that. I do love Christmas. Stores and shops have been decorated since October, and I must admit it is a bit odd to see a cheery Santa stationed next to a Halloween death mask. Despite the efforts to get me prematurely hyped about Rudolph, elves, and gift exchange, I stand firm until after Thanksgiving. When I see Santa pulling up the rear at the Macy’s parade, I am ready to roll.
I particularly enjoy the songs and carols. They are festive and hopeful, melodies that every person knows the words to -- with the possible exception being the exact sequence in the Twelve Days of Christmas. It is a holiday challenge, a sort of Rubik’s Cube set to music.
The other day, I once again heard the familiar seasonal request for a pair of front teeth. That’s all this kid wants. Nothing else. I admire his humility, but most people want a bit more. How about you? Would you like the secret to being happy, losing weight, and feeling energized all at the same time? If you do, I will tell you. After all, it’s Christmas.
Slimming Down and Getting Happy the Natural Way
If you want to elevate your mood and slim down at the same time, a dietary adjustment might be in order. Certain foods can help stimulate dopamine production in your brain which can help elevate mood and promote weight loss.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter in the brain that regulates mood, behavior, sleep and cognition. It also helps with creativity and motivation.
Insufficient levels of dopamine result in feelings of indifference as well as undesirable body movements such as jerking, twitching, and slurred speech. Low levels of dopamine also will slow metabolism and contribute to weight gain, decreased energy, and depression. Proper amounts of dopamine encourage weight loss and maintenance of a proper weight.
Dopamine and Weight Regulation
Dopamine stimulates feelings associated with pleasure. Human beings find these feelings quite desirable and seek to reinvent them again and again. Therefore, if we experience pleasure through eating, we will eat more. The problem here is that overeating causes a depletion of dopamine. A Catch 22 occurs when a person begins eating more in an attempt to recapture feelings of pleasure.
Raising dopamine to proper levels and maintaining those levels can help with weight loss and maintenance of that loss.
Foods That Increase Dopamine
Protein foods like eggs, fish, and poultry that are high in amino acids trigger dopamine production and stimulate metabolism. Folate rich foods such as leafy greens, broccoli, and cauliflower also help produce dopamine. Lentils, chickpeas, and black beans are equally healthy choices.
Fruits high in amino acids such as bananas, blueberries, and strawberries contain the tyrosine that helps to produce dopamine. Red beets contain betaine, an amino acid that not only boosts dopamine but enhances mood as well. Apples and watermelon juice are also good sources for dopamine stimulation.