Food and Emotions

Happiness and Food are Highly Connected, From the Pleasure of Cooking to Eating


Creator: Prostock-Studio | Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Happy little girl holding a bag of fries and apple isolated on white background. Fast food against healthy food concept, copy space

Murray NEB.-Eating is one of the great sensual pleasures in life, from a juicy steak to a delicious bowl of ice cream, food can be a mood changer. Food affects the pleasure reward center in the brain, the same way other addictive behaviors do. This means sometimes it can lead to the same problem with food. It is known when someone is upset or unhappy that they often turn to comfort foods such as ice cream, pasta or mashed potatoes. All foods which release energy into the bloodstream. This can lead to obesity or dependence on food. A bowl of ice cream makes you feel better for a while but very soon you’ll be back to feeling bad about yourself and want more ice cream to help you feel better.

The science of happiness has turned up evidence that food can make you happy. However, a lack of certain foods or at least some of their essential ingredients can actually make you sad. We all need food to get the things a body requires. Like I said above, relying on comfort foods can turn into obesity or dependence on foods that change your mood. While high calorie foods taste better, and have a way of making us happy, it is suggested that healthier foods aren’t just known for physical health but for mental health as well. When it comes to eating, many people think that unhealthy foods mean tasty foods. It is stated that the human brain is wired for survival, and to seek pleasure foods like fat, salt, and sugar. The sight, smell, or memory of these food groups is enough to cause the mouth to water, causing the release of dopamine and serotonin which makes us feel good. Ever felt your mouth water over the sight of pizza, but not kale? You already know.

Studies have shown how food and your mood play out after several days. Findings showed that increased consumption of calories, sodium, and saturated fat resulted in negative moods two days later. On the other hand a similar study with healthy foods pointed out that men and women who ate vegetables one day felt better the next. Scientists have also shown that going on a diet and eating more processed foods, refined grains and sugary products were more likely to show depressive symptoms over time than someone who ate a diet rich in vegetables, lean proteins. So try and remember when you’re having a rough day and want that chocolate. Go for an apple! It might make you feel better in the long run!