We all know that some food can be quite literally good or bad for the heart, but what about the emotional heart? Does diet really affect everything? Here is a look at the some of the ways certain foods might affect the way we feel about other people and ourselves.
What Food Makes You Happy?
We’ve all heard of eating ice-cream after a breakup or when we’re a bit down in the dumps, but is there any science behind such behaviour?
Happiness is a complex and intricate thing to outline in concrete terms, but scientists have found that certain foods have an impact on our emotional well being.
A fatty acid called docosahexaenoic (DHA) is the most common fat in our brain and is essential for healthy brain structure; our main source for this comes from fish and shellfish. Studies have found there may be a correlation between the consumption of fish (i.e. not enough) and depression – The Franklin Institute gives a more comprehensive guide to this link and how it might be explained.
Chocolate the Super Hero
Chocolate and joy are often correlated, and not just because it tastes really good! The brain can be spookily rationalised in most instances: When we feel happiness, it’s often caused by a certain neurotransmitter, Serotonin, and guess what? Chocolate, amongst other stimulants, contains small amounts of an amino acid called Tryptophan which can be used by the brain to produce Serotonin (i.e. happiness, so get the chocs out!).
Can Food Make You Good-Looking?
When it comes to feeling a certain way about ourselves and other people, it’s silly to deny that appearance isn’t a factor. When we feel unattractive we’re unlikely to feel happy, at least not so much as when we think we look great! Luckily, quite a few foods can improve a person’s healthy glow.
Orange Juice a Day Keeps the Doctor Away
Vitamin C is the most commonly cited example of this – just by drinking a glass of orange juice each morning, and eating plenty of foods like papaya, broccoli and sprouts, you can prevent wrinkles and improve the condition of your hair.
Dig Out Those Oysters
Oysters are another great super-food because of the zinc they contain. This mineral is generally important for growth and development, but it can also boost collagen production, promoting great skin.
If you suffer from skin problems, zinc can also work to control excess oil production, improving conditions like acne – there are some really yummy recipes with oysters for you to try, check them out!
This is How Much I Love You
Certain foods can affect the way you feel about a current partner or a prospective partner in more than one way: in the end, food is all made up of certain matter, and so are we, so it’s only natural that certain foods should contain ingredients that can physically affect our sex drives!
Interestingly, chocolate and oysters both come into play here again as natural aphrodisiacs, but also some you might not have known about too…
Almonds supply Vitamin E, which works as a strong antioxidant for circulation flow, affecting the levels of hormones that come into play during the physical attraction game.
Avocado is another natural aphrodisiac due to its strong concentration of Vitamin B6, boosting male and female hormone production and regulating the female thyroid gland. (Did you know that avocado was eaten extensively for these reasons by the Mayans and Aztecs?)
When it comes to relationships though, food can serve as far more than purely biological. From an anthropological perspective, food is a massive bonding tool between people, because there’s no one anywhere that doesn’t need to eat!
Food represents the common basis of all our humanity, and as such can be a major factor in the emotional bonds we form with others – cooking together, eating together and so on.
In every way, it seems, the answer to the question, “food & emotions, are they really connected?” is a resounding yes!
Estelle Page is a committed foodie, and believes the kitchen space is underestimated as a tool for bonding between people. After all, food is one of the main things tying us all together. When she’s not eating or cooking herself, she writes blogs for KDCUK, kitchen design specialists.
Feel free to comment or share your thoughts on this "Food and Emotions – Are They Really Connected?" article from Awesome Cuisine.