Eat Yourself Happy With These 8 Endorphin-Releasing Foods
|Popsugar USDecember 6, 2017|
Whether you’re suffering from the blues or simply experiencing a dip in morale, getting a boost of happiness is always a welcome feeling.
With endorphins being one of our brain’s major pathways to joy, it can be dire if you’re unable to participate in the things that release them into your bloodstream, like exercising or LAUGHING with friends.
Endorphins – like the body’s other “happy hormones” (serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin) – are released into the bloodstream to elicit the feeling of euphoria, enhance pleasure, relieve stress, and reduce feelings of pain. Although no food products contain whole endorphins for easy consumption, several endorphin-stimulating foods boast high levels of the vitamins and minerals that play a large part in boosting your brain’s production, like vitamin B12, vitamin C, zinc, potassium, and iron. If you’re in need of that feel-good feeling, here are eight foods that’ll encourage your brain’s endorphin release:
- Dark Chocolate
- Wild or Pasture-raised Animal Proteins & Brain HEALTHY fat from Pasture-raised Animals
- Oranges (Non-GMO)
- Spicy foods
- Non-GMO Grapes
- Raw & Soaked Nuts and seeds
The good news is that you don’t have to run a marathon (or call a dealer) to experience this kind of high. Try these tactics to coax your body into making more endorphins:
- Dark Chocolate. Unwrap, enjoy, and repeat, because cocoa contains mood-boosting substances such as phenethylamine, an organic compound that gives your body an endorphin boost, and theobromine, a chemical that suppresses pain so you can feel more pleasure, according to some studies.
- Eat your very favorite food. Research suggests that chocolate’s not the only food that can produce pleasure. All palatable foods make your brain release endorphins to elevate your mood. French Fries fried in Healthy Beef tallow!
3. Exercise — and not just running. Working out stresses your system, so your brain pumps out endorphins to cope. But because no two bodies produce the same amount of endorphins in response to stimuli, there’s no way to tell exactly how much exercise you need to bring on an endorphin high, Lombardo says. To find your happy place, do a mood check the next time you do strength training or cardio: Every five minutes, think about how you feel on a scale from one (not happy at all) to 10 (completely high on life). Increase intensity until that number goes up.
5. Make athletic love ~ It should come as no surprise that sex releases a flood of endorphins plus a cocktail of other feel-good brain chemicals, like the love hormone oxytocin, which makes you feel all warm and fuzzy. “It’s cheap therapy!” Lombardo says.
6. Make music. If Spotify brings you pleasure, listen to this: Your brain spews out even more endorphins when you actively take part in creating music. If you’re not a classically trained musician (just guessing here), tap, hum, or dance along to your favorite tunes. Karaoke, anyone?
7. Take a group fitness class. A small British study found that athletes who rowed together could tolerate twice as much pain (a sign that endorphins are present) as athletes who rowed alone. Work out with others to improve your endorphin flow.
8. Eat hot peppers. Even if you love the taste of spicy foods, your body senses the heat and responds the same way it responds to pain. Enter, endorphins!
9. Spritz lavender on your pillow everywhere. In a 2012 study published in Journal of Caring Sciences, women who sniffed lavender essence before IUD insertion reported less anxiety than women who sniffed a placebo. The study authors say aromatherapy makes nerve cells release a mix of neurotransmitters, including (You guessed it!) endorphins.
10. Spike your drink. Is it the healthiest habit? Nope. But they call it happy hour for a reason: When you imbibe, your brain releases endorphins in areas of your brain that are responsible for pleasure and reward, according to a 2012 study published in Science Translational Medicine. Just don’t party too hard: While a little bit of alcohol can stimulate endorphin production, drinking too much (or taking actual opiates) provide artificial pleasure that makes make your brain think it’s OK to take a break from producing endorphins, which kills your natural buzz, Lombardo says.
11. Get acupuncture or do Qi Gong ~ Why would anyone in their right mind want to be repeatedly poked with needles? Research suggests the pain sends a message straight to the brain, which releases endorphins as a remedy. Follow Elizabeth on Twitter.mELIZABETH NARINS senior fitness and health editor
Elizabeth Narins is a Brooklyn, NY-based writer and a former senior editor at Cosmopolitan.com, where she wrote about fitness, health, and more
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