For many of us, it’s no secret that food makes us happy. Who doesn’t feel happy when they’re about to tuck into a cheesy pizza? Or, if you have a sweet tooth, a chocolate bar will for sure bring a smile to your face. But did you know there’s a scientific reason behind your smile? Read on to discover how you can ‘eat yourself happy’.
There’s been quite a hype around junk food and sweet treats lately. Food addiction is on the rise, with many people believing that foods high in sugar, fats, and salt make them happier. As they continue to eat more of it, the ‘happy’ effect’ wears off, so they increase their intake, leading to a food addiction. But there’s more negative media associated with food. Besides food addiction and obesity, there is the opposite trend of calorie counting and meal restriction. But how can we change our approach to food? Can it really make us feel better?
Scientists are now finding that wholesome foods are not just good for our physical health, it has a major influence on our mental health too. Most people associate unhealthy food with being ‘tastier’, and also better for improving your mood. So if they’re feeling down, they would reach for a chocolate instead of fruit. But studies are now showing that the happy feeling you get after eating would be the same if you eat healthy foods! There are plenty of healthy options should you need a mood booster.
Bananas contain tryptophan, which increases your body’s serotonin levels. Serotonin is your ‘’happy’ hormone, responsible for stabilizing your mood. If you don’t have enough of it, you might feel anxious or depressed. If your diet does not include enough tryptophan-rich foods, your body won’t produce enough serotonin, making you feel blue more often.
Although oysters have been known for their supposed aphrodisiac qualities, they are actually great for combatting anxiety. Oysters and other foods like meat and poultry are a good source of zinc. Zinc from plant sources (beans and legumes) do contain zinc, but is not as easily absorbed.
To all the chocolate-lovers around the world, there’s a reason why chocolates makes us happy! Chocolate decreases the level of cortisol, a hormone that deals with stress responses in our body. If you want to reduce your stress levels and satisfy your sweet tooth at the same time, nibble on a block of dark chocolate!
There’s a lot of truth behind the saying ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’! Apples are not only a healthy snack, it’s great mood lifter. In fact, studies show that if you increase your intake of fruits and vegetables, you might experience more feelings of happiness. Except for immediate effects, a diet high in fruits and vegetable is associated with an overall lower prevalence of depression and anxiety later in life.
There are now even more reasons to eat wholesome foods. Not only will it keep us looking fit, but we will feel happier and less stressed! What do you snack on when feeling anxious? Tell us in the comments below!