Food can do more than satisfy your tastebuds; certain foods can actually synthesize for neurotransmitters in your brain. Neurotransmitters have the power to effect your mood and well-being. The effects of neurotransmitters are often replicated in anxiety and depression medication and other drugs, but you can also get their effects by eating certain neurotransmitter-rich foods. If you want to feel happier, more relaxed, and well rested without taking any medication, you may want to change your diet to raise neurotransmitter levels.
What are neurotransmitters?
Neurotransmitters allow communication between the brain, neurons (nerve cells), and all body functions. Gamma-aminobutyric acid (also know as GABA), dopamine, serotonin, acetylcholine, and norepinephrine are all important neurotransmitters that are vital for memory, learning, alertness, and sleep.
Without these five neurotransmitters, you are much more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, addiction, insomnia, and other mental disorders.
Unfortunately, neurotransmitters are not directly found in foods. Fortunately, you can indirectly raise neurotransmitter levels through amino acids. Neurotransmitters are synthesized by the amino acids, which are used to build proteins vital to your survival, found in everyday foods.
Visit our “Your Body” section of this website for more information on Neutrotransmitters
GABA acts as a messenger to multiple parts of the body, overall reducing anxiety, improving sleep, and providing a sense of calmness. Since it’s a byproduct of plants and microorganisms, it is only found in fermented food.
If you want to feel less anxious and wake up calm and refreshed in the morning, then you may want to try the Korean dish Kimchi and Pu-Erh Tea or sauerkraut to raise GABA levels.
Dopamine controls the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. High levels of dopamine in the brain help improve memory, movement, attention, sleep, mood, and learning. Abnormal amounts of dopamine can result in Parkinson’s disease and schizophrenia.
If you want a better nights sleep, an increased attention span, an improved mood or memory try and eat more eggs (if permitted on your program), Spirulina, and more to raise dopamine levels.
Serotonin plays a huge role in the brains activities, mainly learning and memory. Low levels of serotonin may lead to sleep disorders, depression, and headaches. If you want to raise serotonin levels, feel energized, less foggy, and happier try to eat more kiwis, bananas, eggs, and walnuts.
Acetylcholine is very important for the nervous system and muscle coordination. Since it is built from the basic compound choline, an important precursor for acetylcholine, it is important to eat foods that are rich in choline.
If you want to raise acetylcholine levels it is important to eat more egg yolks (again, only if permitted on your program), and Brussels sprouts
Norepinephrine greatly affects mood, attention, and motivation. Norepinephrine is responsible for that “fight or flight” response you may have in stressful situations.
If you want the power to fight your fears or improve your overall mood then try to eat more almonds, avocados, lima beans, and pumpkin seeds to raise norepinephrine levels.
The firing of a neurotransmitter is complicated enough, but the nice thing to know is that it happens involuntarily. So all you have to think about is fueling your body with healthy and wholesome foods for whichever neurotransmitter you may be lacking and your brain will do the rest.
A more comprehensive list of foods that boost neurotransmitters:
- Raw pumpkin seeds
- Raw spinach
- Sesame seeds
- Raw almonds
- Raw dried dates
- Sunflower seeds
- Pumpkin leaves
- Turnip greens
All of the above are geared toward a vegan diet and they all offer the perfect balance to help enhance your mood through the natural production of serotonin.
The goal is to balance your hormones by balancing your diet. Eating the right foods in the right amounts will help you to feel better, look better and live life to the fullest
Before beginning any program, be sure you have consulted your DBM Physician / Practitioner.
Follow these links for more information on Neurotransmitters and how to eat “Clean” to boost them.
- Whole Food Plant Based Plate
- The Four Food Groups
- Eat From The Rainbow
- DBM Food Pyramid
- Foods to Exclude from Your Diet
- Neuroscience: Therapies
- Neurotransmitters: Your Body
Warning: Do not undergo any program if you are pregnant, without first consulting your DBM Physician / Primary Care Physician