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Can food really affect our mood?

Happy with Happihappi!

I can not help it, I have to tell you again and again:

I love food!

It is essential!

Food is one of the most important things in life!

Don't you think so?

A good meal saves a gray, stressful day!

I have learned which food is good for me and which is not.

Eating is pleasure, eating is relaxation!

It is said: You are what you eat!

Isn't that right?

Let's take a little excursion into the world of food

and beverages.

Chocolate creates feelings of happiness, spicy foods provide a brief high, and unhealthy foods can make us depressed in the long run.

Food can have an amazingly strong effect on our psyche, even before the first bite and far beyond.

In studies, scientists have found that food affects our psyche in highly complex ways.

These four aspects in particular have been identified so far:

Sense perception

Food intake is one of the most important survival tasks of all. The very act of eating and drinking intervenes deeply in circuits that control our emotions. The smell of a food or the taste of a drink, for example, can evoke very different sensations - from pleasure and joy to disgust.

Direct effect on the brain

Some foods contain components that are absorbed by the intestines, reach the brain via the bloodstream and have a direct effect on the thinking organ - almost like drugs.

Chocolate contains substances similar to the intoxicating components of marijuana.

Hormone control

Our meals provide ingredients for messenger substances that regulate our emotions. One group of these hormones, known as neurotransmitters, includes serotonin, for example. To produce this hormone, the body needs very special molecules: certain amino acids contained in food.

Psychoactive bacteria in the gut

What we eat affects the microbes in our intestines. The single-celled organisms feed on certain food components and in turn produce substances that may have an effect on our mood.

It's hard to believe:

Every meal affects how we feel.

Some effects fade after a few minutes or hours.

Other eating habits shape how depressed or confident we are about the world or how we deal with stress and problems over weeks, months, and probably even years.

The effect of food on the psyche seems so great that some researchers now believe it is possible to literally eat your way to a new attitude toward life.

If you look at it closely, food influences our psyche before we have even brought the first morsel to our mouths.

With our eyes, we examine the color and shape of the food on the plate in front of us.

With our nose, we draw in the complex aromas that rise from the meal. In a flash, our brain searches through the memory of experiences and associations that we associate with the food in question: Have we tasted something similar before? If so, when and where was it? How did it taste to us? And: How did we feel at that time?

When we are stressed, for example, the sight and smell of our favorite food alone can relax us considerably.

The plate of steaming spaghetti napoli or the crispy brown crust of a schnitzel can activate memories of the familiar security of mother's kitchen or of cozy evenings in a restaurant. Without having to be aware of it, we feel safe, cared for, maybe even a little comforted.

The company in which we find ourselves also influences how good it tastes to us and how much we enjoy eating.

If we sit at the table with two good friends, we eat on average about 40 percent more than if we eat alone!

If we sit together with seven or more trusted friends, we eat almost twice as much. Presumably, we are particularly able to relax and have a greater appetite in the presence of confidants.

On top of that, we often take more time for meals together.

Some effects we notice quickly after eating: the intake of fat, for example, makes us sluggish for some time afterwards. Take bratwurst, for example: the fat it contains makes us

feel tired quickly.

Researchers do not yet know the exact reason: after we have eaten fatty food, our body seems to release messenger substances that make us sleepy.

Spicy foods give us a temporary high. The biochemical mechanism is this:

When we bite into a chili pepper, for example, the active ingredient capsaicin contained in it irritates the tongue. It hurts almost as if we had burned ourselves.

To make the pain more bearable, the brain releases substances to relieve it: Endorphins are similar to the anesthetic morphine. On the one hand, they dull the pain, and on the other, they put us into a state of mild euphoria.

The effect of some foods is so pronounced that people have been reaching for them for centuries to manipulate their moods.

The invigorating effect of coffee is due to caffeine, which prevents nerve cells in the brain from recognizing those messenger substances that actually make us tired.

We find it easier to stay awake. Who doesn't enjoy it: morning coffee, midday coffee or afternoon coffee?

Enjoyment. Enjoyment.

When we enjoy our food, we are already in the middle of self-regulation. We do good for ourselves. Good for body and soul. Enjoying means relaxing.

Relaxed eating good food with friends, loved ones, family.

Eating alone is also a pleasure, if we decide to enjoy it!

Happy with Happihappi!

For individual tips on how you can influence your mood through targeted nutrition, feel free to contact me.

If you have specific questions about food and hormone balance, my practice colleague Ulrike Völker is available to help you at

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