Snacking should make you feel good. (Take that, sugar crash!) But what if I told you that you could make your 3 p.m. snack break even better with a treat that can literally improve your mood in just one bite? Intrigued, right?
In the latest episode of Plant Based, herbalist, health coach, and Supernatural founder Rachelle Robinett shares her recipe for "Dopamine Bliss Balls," (a.k.a. souped up energy balls) which she says are the perfect pick-me-up for any time you're feeling a bit sluggish.
The main ingredient in these bliss balls is mucuna pruriens, a.k.a. the "dopamine bean," which is a legume native to tropical Asia and Africa. They're dark brown and covered with stiff hairs that contain serotonin, a neurotransmitter that promotes calmness and satisfaction, Robinett explains. The plant is a staple in Ayurvedic medicine, and has been touted as a possible way to help manage depression.
Once dried and ground, the bean produces a powder that contains L-dopa, a direct precursor to dopamine. This helps our bodies naturally produce dopamine, a feel-good neurotransmitter that the brain releases when you're happy.
"It can raise your mood a little bit, it can give us a little bit of energy," Robinett says of mucuna pruriens benefits. "But it feels quite different than caffeine—it's not quite as high and, for some people, mucuna pruriens can actually help with sleep." Translation: It can be as good for a bedtime snack as it is in the afternoon.
Thankfully, it's not super hard to reap mucuna pruriens benefits. You can buy the powder online (SunPotion makes it, as does Banyan Botanicals) or at your favorite health food store. Then, use it to make Robinett's Dopamine Bliss Balls—which you can get if you watch the full video above. You're that much closer to a happy-making snack.
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