Dopamine and healthy eating, what’s the connection?

Dopamine and healthy eating, what's the connection?

What is dopamine? It’s a pleasure chemical designed to keep humans alive, by rewarding us by eating higher calorie foods. Our stone aged ancestors lived in food scarcity and receiving a reward (dopamine), ensured survival. However, in the stone age, higher calorie foods included honey, ripe sweet fruit, occasional meat, not high calorie processed foods (sugar, fat, flour, processed meat, fast food etc.) in various combinations. Eating rich, fatty, sugary, processed foods leads to a dopamine release. Tips to stay on track? Tip one: use the principle of substitution by consuming whole, natural, satisfying foods with 50% fruit and veggie, instead of processed foods most often. Ripe, sweet fruit is an excellent food to include for dopamine release. Tip 2: remove, when possible, junk foods out of the home, but if not, into cabinets and out of site. Tip 3: plan each day of eating in advance. Tip 4: strive for adequate sleep. Tip 5: engage in other healthy dopamine releasing activities: exercise including walking, spend time outdoors, play games such as cards, board games, sports, watch/enjoy entertainment such as books, and watch shows that you enjoy (without mindless snacking)! It’s a process not an all or nothing mentality, so strive to explore and find strategies that work for you!

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