How to tell which brain hormone you need more of

Author: Dr. Michelle Durkin on 16 February 2016

SEND LOVE, NOT WORRY OUT INTO THE WORLDIf your sweetie knows you love chocolate then they may have been tapping into your brain chemistry on Valentines Day this past weekend without even knowing it.

The different foods we crave can be a clue as to which neurotransmitters in the brain we are needing more of.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I prefer to eat chocolate or cheese?
  • Do I prefer to eat bread or nuts?
  • Do I prefer to eat something sweet or drink wine?

Depending on your answers you may need more serotonin in your brain or dopamine.

Serotonin is our "happy hormone". It's the one that easily gets depleted when someone is experiencing a lot of stress. When you perceive a lot of stress, you are sucking up your serotonin just like a vacuum cleaner would suck up dirt. The most commonly prescribed group of anti-depressants today are called SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors).

Dopamine on the other hand is our "reward hormone." Ever get that great feeling when you finally checked the last to-do item off your list? I know I do. Sometimes I make lists just so I can cross things off. That is giving yourself a little hit of dopamine.  Other ways of increasing dopamine, which can be very destructive in our lives, include drinking, gambling, crack book (I mean Facebook), drugs, and sex.

So which foods are related to low serotonin? Here's a hint, what do many stressed-out women crave during PMS? That's an easy one...chocolate. Bread and sweets are also in the same category.

That leaves cheese, nuts, and wine. Your craving for something savoury could be related to lower dopamine levels.

Luckily there are also different natural supplements that can increase your levels of these hormones too. Have a proper assessment with your ND to discuss some of these possibilities.

And now I would love to hear from you have any weird cravings that aren't on this list? How many of you are serotonin-loving foodies? Which of you are more dopamine foodies? Leave your comments below and I'll have a new article for you next week on Doctor as Teacher Tuesdays!

4 Replies to “How to tell which brain hormone you need more of”

I one chocolate, buy everything I eat it I feel worse. I get a headache & I sweat at night & more.

Dr Michelle Durkin ND

Hi Nora,
You could be reacting to the caffeine, or the sugar, or both. I should also have said in the article just because you are craving it, it doesn’t mean you should be eating it.

michelle lambton

I crave something sweet after a meal. I can actually feel a little distracted until I munch on a couple of dates, or some fruit-dessert. But then I have a cheese chaser. I am glad to see this topic!

Dr Michelle Durkin ND

Your welcome Michelle!

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