Hormones are the body’s chemical messengers. They send signals into the bloodstream and tissues and affect many different processes and functions in our physical, mental, and emotional being.
One group of hormones is referred to as the “feel-good hormones” because they cause happy and even euphoric feelings.
The production of these hormones can be boosted naturally through diet, exercise, and lifestyle.
Any activity that makes you feel indulged and good releases dopamine. The intense feeling of pleasure is reinforced so you want to indulge in that activity again – it is the brain’s “reward” system.
Dopamine is important to many aspects of mental and physical health including learning and attention, mood, movement, heart rate, kidney function, blood vessel function, sleep, pain-processing and more.
The darker side of dopamine, however, can lead to addictions that are not always healthy.
Foods that stimulate dopamine production: poultry, dairy, avocadoes, soy, bananas, pumpkin, and sesame seeds.
Serotonin is released when you feel everything is right in your world – it is the mood-elevator. For example, achieving goals or being complimented.
It staves off depression and makes you feel euphoric at times.
Functions affected by serotonin include memory, fear, the stress response, digestion, sleep, breathing, body temperature and more.
Naturally increase serotonin levels through exercise, exposure to the sun, achieving goals and a good night’s sleep.
Only a few foods can boost serotonin production: vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and legumes.
These are the body’s natural painkillers and stress-relievers.
They are released primarily with cardiovascular exercise, but also with laughing, falling in love, enjoying a delicious meal, making love, meditation, or playing music.
Laughing also releases dopamine and serotonin.
Chillies and dark chocolate release a very small amount of endorphins.
This is often referred to as the “love hormone” because it is released when there is deep affection and love. Tactile time with family, close friends and loved ones boosts the production of oxytocin, as does exercise or singing in a group.
A daily dose of enjoyment and indulgence helps to keep you healthy and in balance.