Why We Eat And What’s Missing.
Most of us have food cravings of one kind or another. The most common of all is junk food, so much so that it has been labelled addictive food. Is it just the food or is there another reason we cannot resist the impulse?
So what’s the big deal, its just food, walk away. Well, it’s not that simple, it is not through a lack of will power, it goes much deeper than that. The power behind the desire to crave is a neurotransmitter called dopamine know as our happy hormone it is released when we feel pleasure mostly stimulated by food or drugs. In this article, I am going to talk about food addiction.
How Does Food Addiction Work?
In our brain, we have what is known as a rewards system. This has evolved with us over 1000s of years to let us know when we have done things that helped us survive. The brain is geared to find behaviours in this case foods that release dopamine. However, the more we have that food the less the dopamine is release so we eat more of that food to get the dopamine release. The foods like steak, fish and eggs release moderate amounts of dopamine in contrast doughnuts, ice cream, and chocolate release high amounts of dopamine. Hence the problem, the more you crave, the more dopamine foods you will need to eat and eventually it becomes an addiction.
What’s Triggers The Addiction?
So, you go off and get your fix and like magic you feel good just long enough to forget you felt ordinary 30 minutes ago. The brain is wired for you to eat the foods that make you happy and it’s been doing this for most of your life. It would be wise to address the unhappiness around the emotion instead of using food for a temporary fix.
The trigger for a dopamine hit can be:
- Feeling flat
What to Do About it?
Firstly it is a good idea to see a health care professional to be on the safe side, to check for any underlining problems that you may not have thought about. Secondly, have a planned approach, to cover:
- Diet should contain adequate protein with each meal. This will help to balance blood sugar levels and reduce cravings.
- Sleep 7-8 hour per night will balance hormones and reduce overeating.
- Exercise improves your health and release dopamine also boosts your mood and overall sense of well-being
- Some amino acids are boiling block for dopamine production, Tyrosine is one of the amino acids, the food that contain these are meat, eggs, and fish.
- Fish oils have been shown in one study to increases dopamine levels in the brain’s of rats by 40% ref
- Vitamin B6 helps convert L-Dopa into dopamine.
- Vitamin C helps convert dopamine.
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In wisdom and good health
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Written by: Brendon Groves Clinical Naturopathic Practitioner and Founder of Groves Naturopathics