Today’s Blah, blah, blog is super interesting as it addresses a topic that is rarely discussed: FOOD AND EMOTIONS.
Many people know that certain foods help improve vision (broccoli, carrots, salmon) and others help with memory (avocado, nuts, bananas). However, very little or no information is available on foods that affect our emotions. Therefore, we will dedicate this article to that topic.
Scientists are delving deeper into the topic of food and realizing that it is not only a basic human need. There is much more behind it. Food is also part of a cultural, social, religious, economic, and emotional environment. It is no secret that some people, when experiencing deep depressions, suffering from a mental disorder, stress or anxiety, stop eating or, on the contrary, turn to a certain group of foods and exceed their capacity to process what they have consumed. This results in even greater problems, such as eating disorders (ED).
An article on the website Infoalimenta explains how sugary foods, creamy textures, smooth and certain fats produce a positive affective response by generating endorphins, dopamine, serotonin, etc., causing a sense of well-being. While sour, bitter or acidic foods could trigger a negative or rejection response. This makes perfect sense. Consider for a moment that when a person feels sad, they seek sweet flavors to feel better. They turn to chocolates, ice cream, etc. When they feel happy, they also look for those flavors, with the difference that they may also seek more daring flavors, such as spicy ones. In fact, the article mentions that “low-calorie foods increase positive emotions when they are already present.”
On the other hand, the amygdala plays an important role in the emotional choice of certain foods, as the information perceived by our body reaches this subcortical structure and allows us to choose if what we are about to ingest is good or bad for our body. It is based on physical aspects of food and, at a deeper level, on a sensory field full of information stored in our brain from previous experiences from the orbitofrontal cortex.
Finally, we must mention the issue of diets. Many times we impose dietary regimes that are not necessarily the healthiest or appropriate for our needs. For this reason, we always advise consulting an expert, as an inappropriate diet could affect your mental and emotional performance, make you deviate from the diet due to the urgency that your body may have for certain types of nutrients, and thus trigger all kinds of unwanted reactions.
Lastly, we believe that caring for nutrition is extremely important, of which we are aware, but in an era like the one we live in, constantly bombarded by social pressures, incorrect beauty standards, false fitness models and other content on social media that do not fit with the reality of life in general or your reality, it is essential that in addition to taking care of what enters your mouth, we also take care of what enters through our eyes and auditory system, in order to achieve the correct balance between our physical/nutritional well-being and our mental/emotional well-being.
Mahalo for reading,
A hiki i ka manawa aʻe