Are you physically motivated enough to reach your goals?
This time of the year we will all start to think about what we want out of 2017. For some of you your health may be at the top of the list. Too often we set these goals and we don’t achieve them. We say I will start the diet on Monday, I will pay the credit card next month, take the dog for a walk tomorrow, empty the cupboard next week. Goals are usually not achieved because we procrastinate.
What if there was a hormone that we had in our body that kept you motivated, goal orientated and focused?
Well, this hormone actually exists – it is called dopamine!
Dopamine is often referred to as the “feel good” chemical. When it is low the person is more likely to feel depressed, lack pleasure, be unmotivated or lethargic. Those with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) usually lack dopamine. Most people have heard of serotonin because many anti-depressants work on serotonin, but many have not heard of dopamine even though it is critical in clarity, happiness, focus and wellbeing.
So how can you increase dopamine levels naturally?
Are you suffering with digestive problem? It is critical that your gut is healthy, as all good health starts in the gut. Your stomach is the beginning of protein digestion, where protein is broken down into amino acids. To make dopamine your body needs plenty of the amino acid tyrosine. If you have reflux, bloating, food sensitivities or indigestion it may mean that you are not digesting your proteins efficiently. So digestive dysfunction needs to be addressed.
Dopamine is made from protein and a cocktail of other important nutrients like vitamin C, iron, magnesium, B vitamins and zinc. It is also wise to consider increasing foods high in tyrosine such as almonds, avocado, bananas and poultry. You need to make sure your diet has plenty of colour too. If any of the dopamine cofactors from the diet are missing it makes it very difficult for the body to produce dopamine.
A study published in 2008 in the Journal of Nutrition & Metabolism demonstrated that low dopamine levels are associated with an inability to control portion sizes, so you are more likely to overeat. So if your goal is to shed some weight we need to get those dopamine levels up!
So how do you know if you are low in dopamine? There are clinical pathology tests as simple as a urine test that can determine your neurotransmitter levels.
If you know you procrastinate and put your goals on hold, you may be in need of more dopamine!