Love. What is it? This rather wonderful feeling comes down to a mix of neurotransmitters being released (the brain chemicals), particularly adrenaline, dopamine and serotonin. I thought today, being Valentine’s, I would explore the alternative ways us ‘singletons’ could still get our fill of feeling warm and fuzzy.
It might seem obvious but eating chocolate increases levels of the calming neurotransmitter serotonin. Actually the bit that makes us feel really happy is a small amount of a compound called phenylethylamine that it contains. This acts like an amphetamine, stimulating your brain cells to release dopamine. Thus making you feel relaxed and full of joy. No wonder it’s a favourite to gift at Valentine’s.
So many people dislike these fruit but especially ripe bananas are full of tyrosine. This is a super food for regulating the production of dopamine. So next time maybe think twice about what to do with those left over ones in the fruit bowl. It’s literally a bowl of happiness.
We all know that oysters are an aphrodisiac. It’s the combination of rare amino acids and zinc that increases testosterone in men and progesterone in women. The reality is that these rare amino acids also trigger a rise in dopamine to the brain. So they’re great for your sex life but also just great for making you feel good.
While alcohol is ultimately a depressant it also affects both “excitatory” neurotransmitters and “inhibitory” neurotransmitters. That means just the taste triggers dopamine to be released. Interestingly, this affect is more felt on men than it is on women.
Nuts in general help maintain your dopamine levels, but the best nuts for this are almonds. Almonds contain an essential amino acid, phenylalanine, that’s need to create dopamine. If that doesn’t make you want a few more nuts in your diet, almonds are high in fibre and a good fat. So just a few each day are great for the brain as well as helping to lose weight.
Having a pet can give you similar effects to taking drugs. Petting or playing with a pet can help release serotonin and dopamine. Studies have shown that pet owners, were less depressed and had lower blood pressure. Plus taking the dog for a walk is a great way to enjoy exercise. Winning all round.
This fruit, particularly the juice, boosts dopamine because it’s packed with B6, a vitamin that’s needed in the production of this neurotransmitter. The vitamins also reduce free radicals and ensure that the way your experience this happy love is purely in a healthy way.
Yes, of course there’s plenty of love drugs. Ironically the reason why people get so addicted to this drug is that it causes all three of our brain’s love chemicals to get going. While our bodies would naturally reabsorb these brain chemicals after a while and the feeling would pass, cocaine blocks this from happening. Sounds great, no? Sadly, too much of a good thing is actually pretty detrimental. Ultimately leaving you feeling depressed and anxious, needing even more to create the same feelings. Best stick to the healthier options.
So next time you’re feeling low, remember these treats, the more healthy ones. Who needs Tinder when the supermarket can provide with you so much love.