When children are at home with nothing to do and their parents are busy, consumer electronics products may well come in handy for keeping children quiet so that their parents can get on with their work well or maybe take a breather. Nutritionists say that children’s Internet and cellphone addiction is related to dopamine. If dopamine secretion is normal, people will feel happy and joyful, but when there is not enough of it, they can easily become addicted to substances or feel depressed. One way to deal with this is to regularly stimulate the body’s synthesis of dopamine through diet.
In a post on her Facebook page “Dietician Ivy’s health classroom,” nutritionist Ivy Hsu said that dopamine is a brain neurotransmitter responsible for pleasurable feedback. When a child uses an electronic device, the colorful scenes full of special effects and the pleasure they get from competition stimulate the secretion of dopamine, which makes the child happy. However, when parents want to control their child’s use of the electronic device, the child may suddenly become frustrated and angry, and even lose control of its emotions and get into a tantrum. This happens because the child’s dopamine secretion is comparatively inadequate, so the child needs to seek it out for pleasure, and this is what causes the phenomenon of addiction.
Hsu said that you can in fact stimulate your body’s synthesis of dopamine by adjusting your dietary and living habits, summed up in four main points.
Photo courtesy of Miclub 照片：米客邦提供
1. Supplementation from food: Tyrosine, multivitamins (especially vitamin B6) and magnesium are the main nutrient raw materials for dopamine synthesis in the human body. Tyrosine can be derived from dairy products, meat, fish, eggs, nuts and beans. Vitamin B6 can be obtained from bananas, mangos, green vegetables, fish, pork, eggs and nuts. Magnesium can be found in grains, bananas, seaweed, nuts, tofu, dark chocolate and dark green vegetables.
2. Eating more antioxidant food: Foods that are rich in natural antioxidants food can protect dopamine receptors from damage. Notably, the more brightly colored fruits and vegetables are, the greater their antioxidant effect generally is.
3. Getting plenty of exercise: Exercise can increase dopamine secretion and absorption.
Photo courtesy of Shueiyuan Primary School 照片:水源國小提供
4. Adequate sleep: Dopamine secretion is reduced during sleep, so you need adequate and good-quality sleep to reduce your dopamine expenditure and consumption.
(Translated by Julian Clegg, Taipei Times)
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