(Natural News) Running really hard gives you a rush like no other because it triggers the production of brain chemicals called endorphins. But this “runner’s high” is actually very easy to replicate, without having to exert so much effort. All you need are foods that either contain or stimulate the production of endorphins.
Endorphins are neurotransmitters, chemicals used by brain cells to communicate, that make the body feel good. When this brain chemical is produced, the person can enjoy reduced levels of pain and stress, as well as feelings of euphoria. Because of these effects, many people also refer to endorphins as the body’s own version of morphine, which is a known pain medication. People who do not produce enough of this have a higher risk of anxiety, depression, and stress. Moreover, they’ll find it harder to experience joy. Although exercise is the most popular way of producing more endorphins, there are other methods that can be considered.
One of the easiest ways is by eating the following foods:
- Dark chocolate — There’s no need to feel guilty about eating dark chocolate since this is good for both your mental and physical health. This food, which is a favorite of many, contains compounds like phenylethylamine that enhances the production of endorphin. Research has shown that the joy caused by eating chocolate is even better than another endorphin-boosting action, kissing.
- Spicy foods — Sweet foods aren’t the only ones that can make you happy. Even spicy foods like hot peppers can boost your endorphin levels. This is because of a compound called capsaicin that induces a feeling of pain and consequently triggers the release of endorphins to relieve the sensation. Because of this reaction, eating spicy foods is also highly encouraged for people who suffer from arthritis, neuropathy, and severe itching.
- Alcohol — Have you ever wondered why alcohol makes you feel so good? Well, one of the reasons for this is it triggers the release of endorphins. However, it is important to remember to keep drinking at a minimum since too much alcohol can lead to health problems like liver disease, heart problems, cancer, mental health problems, and alcoholism.
- Foods that you love — No matter what type of food you eat, the body will produce endorphins as long as you enjoy eating it. This is especially true for foods rich in sugar and fats. But, like with alcohol intake, it is still better to be wary of how much you are eating since too much of these substances is bad for the body.
Other ways to boost endorphin levels
Increasing endorphin levels is a very easy and enjoyable task since the different ways to achieve this are things that you would want to do anyway. Other methods, that do not involve food or exercise, include the following:
- Laughing — It’s true that laughter is the best medicine. Its health benefits, which include reduced pain, happiness, and an improved immune system, are attributed to the production of endorphins. Unfortunately, as a person ages, the number of times that they laugh in a day declines significantly. If you don’t feel like laughing, just faking it can already trigger endorphins and because of this, you’ll soon be laughing for real.
- Listening to music — Music is a great way to feel joy, especially when you create the music yourself. One study revealed that country music is the best endorphin booster while heavy metal rock is the worst since it induces anxiety instead.
- Meditation — People who meditate can enjoy higher endorphin levels as well as lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Because of these, meditation is beneficial for reducing inflammation involved in diseases such as depression.
By doing these methods that increase endorphin levels, you’ll find life much more enjoyable than before. (Related: Mood foods: How what you eat affects how you feel.)
For more articles about natural ways to improve neurotransmitter levels, visit Brain.news