Tell me who your friends are, and I will tell you who you are. If food is your friend, then you are what you eat. Did you know that foods can be natural mood enhancers that affect your personality and behavior?
We are aware how much food affects our health, but the food we eat also affects how we feel. Depression and stress can lead to emotional eating (binge eating or uncontrolled eating). Some foods we consume may either worsen our emotional state or elevate our mood.
Having a basic understanding of food and its effect on our emotions is a good thing. We can choose the kind of food we consume to prepare for our daily tasks. I am sure you agree that performing our tasks is easier with positive emotions, right?
If there is one mood that sums up all positive emotions, it is happiness. Love is a powerful emotion, and what do we wish for those we love? Of course, we want them to be happy.
We may think of food as a means to pacify hunger. A better way to think about food is that it sustains life. Eating healthy, balanced meals nourishes the body and minimizes health risks. Food can enhance our life, making it much more enjoyable and happier.
1. The Science of Foods as Natural Mood Enhancers.
Looking for information on the internet is confusing. There’s too much junk published without scientific evidence to back up claims. Even so, research is often inconclusive. There are more studies on food and depression than on happiness. Despite this, there are encouraging results.
Let’s take a look at chocolate.
A lot has been said about the health benefits of chocolates, especially dark chocolate, which has more cocoa. Eating too much has consequences, negating its health benefits.
Did I mention that we should eat balanced, healthy meals? If you have a habit of eating junk food, whether by choice or by circumstance, how about this? Dr. Kristin Heron led a team of researchers at Penn State and found that women who were in a bad mood felt even worse after unhealthy eating. Women who were in a good mood experienced no change before or after eating junk food.
2. The State of Happiness.
Happiness is a state of being satisfied and having meaning in our lives. While it’s impossible to stay in a constant state of happiness, we have a natural propensity to feel positive emotions. We’re able to recover from negative emotions quickly, and have a greater sense of purpose.
Happiness comes from many things, and money is not one of them. At least to some extent. Having more money does not necessarily make us happier. What has become evident is that people are happier if they have meaningful relationships and strong connections to the community.
To boost our mood, here are natural mood enhancers that help us feel good.
“B12 appears to help prevent disorders of the central nervous system, mood disorders, and dementias”
~ Edward Reynolds, MD, at the Institute of Epileptology, King’s College, London
This vitamin is found in meats, fish, poultry, and dairy.
Fruits and Vegetables.
As one of the natural mood enhancers, fruits and vegetables directly contribute to better health and quality of life. People who regularly eat proper amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables feel better about their health.
A clinical trial evaluated the depression scores of older adults. Although inconclusive, it did appear to show that higher levels of selenium played a role in decreasing symptoms of depression.
Whole grains such as oatmeal, whole-grain bread, and brown rice are rich dietary sources of selenium. Other foods include beans and legumes, lean meats, low-fat dairy foods, nuts (especially Brazil nuts) and seeds, oysters, clams, crab, sardines, and fish.
“Omega-3s from fish seem to have positive effects on clinically defined mood swings such as postpartum depression”
~ Jay Whelan, Ph.D., head of the Department of Nutrition at the University of Tennessee
As shown in several recent studies, the risk of depression is lowered for people who consume lots of fatty fish like salmon, which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
I remember how some people have said that those who live in countries where they are less exposed to the sun have higher rates of depression than those in tropical countries.
Natural vitamin D synthesized by staying under the sun is the best source of vitamin D. That is not always possible. Food sources of vitamin D are limited, but they include fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel, beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks. Another great source of vitamin D is fortified food such as breakfast cereal, bread, juice, and milk.
Chocolate lovers will be glad about this.
“Small amounts of dark chocolate can be a physical upper”
~ Becker at Johns Hopkins
“Dark chocolate has an effect on the levels of brain endorphins, those feel-good chemicals that our bodies produce. Not only that but dark chocolate also seems to have a heart-healthy anti-clogging effect in our blood vessels.”
~ Becker at Johns Hopkins
3. Mood-enhancing Foods and Personality.
Anything in excess is not okay, especially food, which affects our health. Have you noticed how more people are getting sick younger and living longer by taking maintenance drugs?
When we are physically fit and strong, we have a more positive outlook on life. It’s not a coincidence. The foods that are healthy often are the ones that influence our mood.
Have you had experiences when you looked forward to acquiring a material thing, and after a long time, you were able to? Remember the euphoria, the joy of holding that very thing you craved? After a while, what happened? Material things can give us happiness temporarily, but they don’t make us any healthier.
True wealth is being healthy. A vibrant version of you, full of energy, exudes confidence and positivity. But health isn’t only physical. Optimum nutrition and mood-enhancing foods keep us sharp mentally and help us manage negative emotions.
When we have improved thought processes and a happy mood, people tend to see us as likable. Does food intake play a role in our personality and behavior? You bet!
Feeling good with natural mood enhancers will ensure that we live life to the fullest!
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