For centuries, people have wondered if food can affect or improve their emotions.
In the past, especially in Medieval Europe, people started to pay attention to the food versus emotional link.
There were medical books dedicated to the subject, and culinary books did produce a link between certain foods and emotions.
Foods such as dates, quince and elderberries enhanced moods, while lettuce and chicory were great for tranquilizers.
Apples, pomegranates, eggs and beef were viewed as sexual stimulants.
As Hippocrates once stated, “Let food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food.”
Studies within the last 80 years have shown there is a connection between certain foods and emotions.
The brains of humans and animals have been studied to see how food can impact the brain structure, chemistry and physiology.
The studies have shown that foods do, in fact, influence the brain's neurotransmitters even if the feeling is temporary.
Not only can food impact our moods, the type of food we choose to eat is influenced by our moods.
Understanding how the foods we choose to eat, and the understanding the chemistry behind our emotions, allows us to become healthier and happy people.
In a study by Macht in 1999, female and male participants were asked about their food choices based on their emotions.
They ranked their emotions based on anger, fear, sadness and joy.
Hunger was prevalent in those who expressed anger and joy, but wasn’t a factor for fear and sadness.
Anger did show that the participants were prone to comfort and impulse eating, whereas joy increased with pleasure eating.
When people are sad, they eat less-healthy comfort foods, as another study showed.
These effects of emotions and food choice seems to prove that people’s eating habits are based on their emotions.
There are psychological effects of how certain foods are perceived.
If there is a group that is dieting, and the suggestion of eating high-calorie foods is applied, the group may experience anxiety about gaining weight.
People can also have a learned appetite from the experience of foods.
When a favorite food is suggested, it triggers a positive response in the brain which can lead to an emotional response.
If your favorite food is talked about, you may feel more energized and act positively towards the person asking the question.
Emotions and Food
The complexity of food lends itself to trigger a certain emotional response in certain people.
The type of food, time of day, the amount of food consumed, the age of a person and the dietary history all play a role in the link between food and emotions.
Gender may also play a role in the emotions a person will feel after they’ve eaten a certain food.
In a study conducted in 1983, females who ate a meal loaded with carbohydrates were sleepier after the meal.
The results are different for everyone, but knowing the links between the chemicals produced in the brain and foods people eat, is beneficial.
Foods to Reverse Feeling Angry
Anger is an emotion that can cause stress, higher blood pressure and flushing of the face. Biologically, anger does a lot more to your body than you may realize.
Luckily, some foods can help.
When you’re stressed and angry, your body can be experiencing oxidative damage. Adding vitamin C to your diet introduces antioxidants to your body. Eating one cup of kiwi provides an antioxidant boost to your body. It’s a low-calorie snack that allows you to eat it fresh.
Eating pumpkin seeds as a snack will greatly improve your mood. Pumpkin seeds have magnesium, a mineral that helps lower your blood pressure. They’re low in carbohydrates, which prevents a sugar crash.
Low blood pressure can cause you to be edgy and irritable. Eating barley will level out your blood pressure for hours on end, allowing you to be in a good mood the rest of the day. It’s versatile, so you can eat it any way you like it. Barley is a high-fiber food, which is healthy.
Adding peanuts to your daily snack routine will make you happy. They have several B vitamins, which can help when your brain can’t produce serotonin. They have the folate your body needs, and adding roasted, unsalted peanuts can help your body function correctly.
Capsaicin is a chemical that gives hot peppers their spice. The capsaicin triggers the brain’s chemical response to release endorphins. Since endorphins produce a happy and relaxed feeling, eating capsaicin will produce a natural, positive response.
Foods to Reverse Feeling Sad
So, you have a case of the blues. How do you combat them? Use some of these foods.
If you’re feeling blue and down, eating a low-fat, low-protein and high-carbohydrate snack can help cheer you up. The amino acid, tryptophan, morphs into the brain and creates serotonin. Serotonin is important to getting a great night’s rest, and English muffins can do the trick.
Whole Wheat Bread
Eating whole wheat bread with some honey can help increase your serotonin levels as well. Since protein and fat aren’t blocking the carbohydrates, they reach your brain faster and produce serotonin quicker.
Pasta has a lot of carbohydrates, which can make you feel better if you don’t stick with pasta all the time. During the winter months, your serotonin levels can drop, but slowly adding protein to your diet will raise dopamine levels with an insulin rush.
Foods to Reverse feeling Foggy
When you have trouble thinking and you believe your brain is a bit foggy or fatigued, there are a few foods that can help rejuvenate your thought processes as you work on that huge project at work.
Oleic acid is a fatty acid that helps protect neurons. Omega-3 fatty acids are important to improving a foggy brain. A myelin sheath, a lining that coats neurons, sends information around your brain at 200 mph. They also promote a healthy blood that increases brain function and protect your heart.
Antioxidants are prevalent in blueberries, and they can help improve memory and cognitive function. Blueberries may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease, and their memory-protecting properties support a healthy brain.
Beans are gluten-free, inexpensive and help your body process carbohydrates. The slowed-down carbohydrate process helps our brains maintain their energy to keep working properly through the day.
Nuts and seed are high in protein, satisfy your appetite, reduce inflammation, and promote a healthy brain. The omega-3 fatty acids in nuts and seed that improve your brain's functionality are high in fiber, vitamins and minerals.
Omega-3 fatty acids help improve the cognitive function in your brain. Wild salmon also has astaxanthin, B vitamins and amino acids that can improve your brain power. There has been a plethora of research on the abilities of omega-3 fatty acids on brain health preservation.
The natural stimulants in dark chocolate enhance focus, and dark chocolate is full of antioxidants. The brain can produce endorphins when you eat dark chocolate, which will improve your mood as well. Dark chocolate will allow you to concentrate better, and help cheer you up when you’re down.
Foods to Reverse Feeling Sleepy
If you want a better night’s sleep, try some of these foods. Just like other moods, certain items can make you sleepy.
Having some fruit before bed can help your brain relax and produce serotonin to get you ready for bed. The natural sugars are better for your brain, and the iron you get from fruits can help you sleep better.
Adding high-protein foods, such as beef, chicken or fish can help you sleep better through the night. These foods are high in iron, which helps your body stabilize. When not enough iron is eaten through your food, you can experience iron deficiency and anemia.
The copper found in bananas and other foods is a vital mineral for people. Getting the copper you need will help you sleep through the night. You will feel more rested in the morning. Copper deficiencies prevent you from relaxing and getting a good night’s sleep.
Foods to Reverse Feeling Irritable
If you feel irritated, you might try a few foods to feel better.
Sugar in foods can cause people to become irritable. When sugar enters the bloodstream, it can raise your heart rate, and your brain will signal that you may be in danger. Sugar can trigger a fight or flight mode in the brain, and you will have adrenaline released into your body. Using artificial sweeteners can make your coffee or tea taste good without triggering the adrenaline.
Although tea can have the same amount of caffeine as a cup of black coffee, the effects of certain teas can produce a relaxing feeling. If you’re agitated, it could be due to the way your body process caffeine. Tea can make you more focused, and increase your concentration so long as there isn’t too much sugar included.
Foods to Reverse Feeling Stressed
Stress, like anger, takes its toll on the body. Reverse some of the effects of stress with a few foods that relax your body.
Drinking a shake is a great way to reduce stress and increase your serotonin levels. Adding fruits, oils and nuts can help your brain produce serotonin. Shakes can also prevent withdrawal, rebound cravings and overeating. You can choose what you want to put into your shake, and that can make them healthier than other snacks.
Increasing vitamin C not only boosts your immune system, they can make you feel better. It reduces cortisol levels, and cortisol may cause stress. Lower cortisol levels can make you feel better.
There is plenty of magnesium in spinach, which reduces stress-related fatigue. There is fiber in spinach that can improve your energy levels naturally. It’s an excellent addition for a protein shake.
Not only are raw vegetables good for you, the act of chewing will release your jaw muscles. Tension is stored in the jawline, and chewing can help reduce the tension. Your brain's response will help you relax and get rid of the stress.
The vitamins and minerals in beef include zinc, iron, and several forms of vitamin B. These vitamins and minerals stabilize your mood, and your brain will produce endorphins. Even leaner cuts of meat, such as flank steak, are good things to eat.
Oatmeal and other whole grains have high levels of magnesium and potassium. They reduce blood pressure and help your body release serotonin. Since they take longer to digest, you will feel the effects longer than with white grains. Adding blueberries to the oatmeal will help you stave off your stress levels.
Foods to Reverse Feeling Dull
When you feel dull, down or fatigued, a few foods can perk up the remainder of your day.
When you’re starting your day off with some coffee, you can almost feel the effects immediately. Caffeine provides a boost, but there are some side effects to drinking too much coffee. Your brain’s energy-boosting ability can get clouded when you’ve had too much coffee. Adenosine is a nerve chemical in the brain that boosts your energy levels. When caffeine from coffee is introduced, it blocks the adenosine. That might make you may feel sluggish, which, in turn, means you reach for more coffee. While it is an excellent way to start your day, you should limit on how much coffee you drink.
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The drink use green coffee beans that provide energy to you.
The drink is a compact energy stock that can be mixed into any drink to provide a healthy energy boost.
Each powdered drink has a clean taste without artificial sweeteners or calories.
It has the right amount of caffeine to keep you focused instead of jittery.
You can add it to water, juice, soda and mixed drinks to enhance your energy levels.
So far, there isn’t a perfect science to enhancing moods with diets.
There are plenty of studies that are generalized and subjective, and those studies cannot pinpoint the perfect diet.
There are diets that are high in protein and low in carbs, diets that cannot include gluten and hundreds of others.
To maximize the effectiveness that food provides, it’s a good idea to have a balanced diet. Incorporating protein, carbohydrates and fatty oils in the right amounts can lead to a healthier and happier life.
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It’s the best way to beat the dullness and give you more confidence.