“Food for the soul”– think deeper.
Really? Our soul does not eat.
We eat and feel happy, ecstatic, and relieved sometimes. That run to the kitchen to gobble that bar of chocolate on feeling anxious, remember? So, what does that “food for the soul” or that “piece of chocolate” do? It probably talks to us and relaxes us. But let’s get a little nerdy here. Food doesn’t tell us how to solve our problems or calm our anxiety– it’s the neurotransmitters.
Neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine, running in our body as messengers, are synthesized from amino acids and nutrients in food and may stimulate or calm the brain. Now, there are two sides to this. First, what we eat manages our emotions and mood (like chocolate calming you down). Second, our mood decides what we should eat (rushing to sugary stuff when anxious). Certainly, there is some chemistry between the food we eat and the mood we get into.
Gut Science –
Gut-brain axis is one of the most widely researched axes because of the relevance it holds. The term “gut-feeling” is not just a metaphor; our very own gut can affect our mood! Our brain is connected to the gut through many neural connections, hormones, neurotransmitters etc., and there is a constant communication. The condition of the gut plays a significant role in the health of our brain and our mood. Different foods have different functions that have both long- and short–term effects on our body and mind. An increasing number of research shows that if one struggles with gastrointestinal disorders, one is more likely to struggle with anxiety and/or depression. Conversely, people who are suffering from chronic stress are also patients of chronic gastric disorders.
Food Affects Mood –
“We are what we eat!”– this phrase probably took its origin from the idea that foods may alter the way we think and react.
Mood affects your gut–
Now, twist the above idea of food affecting mood and see how our mood decides what goes in our body. Have you ever noticed that when you are about to face an interview, you get butterflies in your stomach?! Our anxiety or temporary stress releases cortisol in our blood (the stress hormone) that upsets the gut microflora and the way they talk to each other (communication gap). This confusion created by cortisol in our gut causes that sensation and often urges you to frequent the WC during stress situations.
So, next time when you secretly sneak into the kitchen for that choco lava cake or that gelato in the refrigerator, you know who to blame it on– you are just enhancing your mood! ?