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Dopamine-Rich Foods

author image Emily Beach
Emily Beach works in the commercial construction industry in Maryland. She received her LEED accreditation from the U.S. Green Building Council in 2008 and is in the process of working towards an Architectural Hardware Consultant certification from the Door and Hardware Institute. She received a bachelor's degree in economics and management from Goucher College in Towson, Maryland.
Dopamine-Rich Foods
bowl of raw almonds Photo Credit: Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images

Dopamine is a type of neurotransmitter that carries nerve impulses through the brain. Adequate dopamine levels in the body help to regulate mood, attention and learning, and can even affect your personality. According to the Franklin Institute, food is the best source of dopamine-producing amino acids such as tyrosine. By consuming foods rich in tyrosine, you'll help your body boost dopamine production naturally and maintain your health.

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Blueberries and Spirulina

fresh basket of blueberries
fresh basket of blueberries Photo Credit: Maris Zemgalietis/iStock/Getty Images

A diet rich in blueberries and spirulina -- a blue-green algae -- improved dopamine levels in laboratory animals, according to a 2005 study published in the "Experimental Neurology" journal. These foods reduced inflammation in the body to limit damage from free radicals and restore dopamine levels after they were altered by researchers. This study suggests that other foods rich in antioxidants may have a similar effect on reducing inflammation and maintaining healthy levels of amino acids.

Animal Sources

sliced turkey with cranberry
sliced turkey with cranberry Photo Credit: SVETLANA KOLPAKOVA/iStock/Getty Images

Middle Tennessee State University suggests that any foods rich in animal protein can help boost dopamine levels in the body. This includes many varieties of fish, chicken, turkey and other forms of poultry. It also applies to most types of meat as well as eggs. These tyrosine-rich foods offer an effective way to maintain or increase dopamine stores.

Non-Meat Sources

bowl of pumpkin seeds
bowl of pumpkin seeds Photo Credit: Elena Elisseeva/Hemera/Getty Images

For vegetarians, some non-meat products can help to replenish or increase dopamine levels. Middle Tennessee State University recommends cheese, yogurt and milk, as well as foods that are rich in these ingredients. These options may work for some vegetarians, but not for vegans. Vegans looking to increase tyrosine intake can try pumpkin or sesame seeds, almonds, peanuts or legumes. Many foods that are rich in both protein and carbohydrates can help boost dopamine levels, according to the University of Michigan Health Center. Tofu and most soy-based products also serve as rich sources of tyrosine.

Other Sources

a bunch of bananas
a bunch of bananas Photo Credit: Yamtono_Sardi/iStock/Getty Images

Whole wheat and oats, which are rich in protein and carbohydrates, can provide high levels of amino acids such as tyrosine, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. The same is true for avocados, which are also full of healthy fats. Both bananas and lima beans may also boost dopamine levels over time.

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