A lingering question to every food lover: does food actually makes us happy?
Have you ever had food without feeling that ‘hunger’ sting in your stomach? Or have you ever felt like eating something tasty that excites your taste buds in spite of feeling full? Did it ever come to your mind as to what you are going to have for breakfast the next morning, while your dinner hasn’t yet reached the intestines? Well, this is what food does to us.
Food And Mood: A Rhyming Pair!
Our moods depend on the kind of food we eat. The mood is an affective state which is based upon events or stimuli in our daily chores. It has both positive as well as a negative impact on one’s mental state. In celebrations such as birthdays, weddings and achievements, people are in a happy mood and treat themselves or their families and friends with delicious food. When people are sad, they vent it out on food. Particularly, when girls are going through premenstrual syndrome (PMS), they crave for chocolates, cheesy burgers, smoothies, and a lot more. So, basically there is specific food for every mood!
The term “happiness” is very subjective. People find happiness in travelling to exotic destinations, exotic dishes, family, friends, and whatnot. It is seen that people in a state of displeasure, gorge on food items such as ice creams, chocolates, burgers, and other unhealthy eatables. It gives them immense pleasure by binging on food. The smooth textures of ice cream and chocolates have great potential in uplifting one’s mood. Many people find solace in cooking their own meals.
Food As A Drug
It has been commonly heard that a person utters all his true feelings when drunk. An illusion of being happy makes people resort to drugs. In this way, food acts as a drug for people; food actually makes us happy so they have claimed. Food affects all the pleasure and reward spots of our brains in the same way as drugs do. So, stuffing oneself with food is an addiction in itself. In a state of anxiety and depression, one can easily finish more than one tub of ice cream and chocolate bars all at once.
Can Food Be Our Enemy?
Have you ever been angry with your parents for no specific reason? While the reason lay in your stomach, the absence or desire to have good food makes us the ‘most unwanted creature’. According to the University of Guelph, a sudden drop in glucose due to hunger can impact one’s moods. People get grouchy when they are hungry for a long duration. Therefore, food is not only important for metabolism but also for mental well-being.
Unhealthy food adversely affects someone’s mood. Unhappy people turn to food to fill their voids in life and leading to serious lifestyle ailments such as obesity. Food is also a major cause of acne. Poor mood and an improper diet are a vicious cycle. Instead of feeling good, people feel bad about themselves. When trapped in this cycle, people find it difficult to come out of it.
Food As Our Happy Pill
Everyone has their own comfort food. The wonderful scent of a cheese maggi or the look of a chocolaty cake can make anyone happy, no matter what that person has been going through.
According to Elaine Magee (MPH, RD, nationally known as “The Recipe Doctor”), carbohydrates and mood are all about tryptophan (an essential amino acid). Consumption of carbohydrates will increase the levels of tryptophan entering the brain. This increases the levels of serotonin, which is known as a mood regulator. Serotonin is made naturally in the brain from tryptophan with some help from the vitamins.
Foods such as fish and dishes rich in vitamin D increase the levels of serotonin. A balanced diet and regular exercise will also help in maintaining physique and people will feel good about themselves. For instant happiness, gorging on unhealthy food makes people feel good. But, only a healthy lifestyle will confirm the prevalence of happiness in one’s life.
Read Also: Things You Should Never do After Eating.