Friday, March 6, 2009

Food Affects Our Emotional State

(NaturalNews) Some people who are depressed lose their appetite and lose weight. Others in the same emotional state eat more and gain weight. Why does this happen? How do food and mood fit together?

Food is not only necessary to sustain life; it is routinely connected with the human description of a social being. Most people find pleasure in eating. A truly remarkable research finding demonstrates that the release of b-endorphin, a natural pleasure/comfort chemical in the brain, occurs whenever we eat our favorite foods. For some that may be cake; for others roast beef is the ticket. Apparently, what we eat isn’t as important as that we eat food we love.

Overall, our sense of well-being is strongly affected by social circumstances, prior experience with that food and how hungry we are. It has been proven that the right food at the right time eaten in the right situation with the right people changes our state of well-being.

Food cravings are common in at least 60% of the population. What is unusual is the difference between food cravings in males and females. Men routinely identify food cravings with being hungry. Women, however, believe their cravings are related to emotional state, especially negative feelings. It is not surprising to learn that men don`t experience nearly the guilt women do after giving in to a craving. The guilty feelings are directly proportionate to the perceived "taboo" on the food.

If people learned to read labels before indulging in a craving, they would experience much less guilt after eating an apple than after eating potato chips. Most of us don`t operate in an analysis mode when we experience a food craving.

People who are labeled as binge eaters frequently have a list of forbidden foods. They deliberately avoid certain foods such as candy, ice cream, chips or beverage alcohol. The avoidance triggers a craving that gets stronger until the individual believes he/she has no choice but to partake of the forbidden. The guilt and remorse that come after indulging lead to more bingeing.

Studies have also found that people who experience a chronic state of depression or other emotional upset often eat larger amounts of the foods we identify as favorites. Eating four to six small meals a day, preferably full of raw fruits and vegetables, will help stabilize mood and fight depression.

Breakfast is very important to general well-being. It starts us off in a better frame of mind, and if we eat a nutritious breakfast, we concentrate longer and better and are not as easily fatigued.

A breakfast as simple as a fruit salad, some oatmeal and a cup of green tea can make a difference. A mid-morning snack of an apple and some nuts keeps the body efficiently fueled. Juices and smoothies can also be added for extra nutrition.

Lunch of salmon and a large salad will boost thinking ability well into the afternoon. Afternoon snacking can be as basic as celery and carrot sticks with two tablespoons of humus. A dinner packed with greens and whole grain starches such as quinoa or buckwheat is healthy and filling.

Avoid processed flour foods and those that contain white, refined sugar. Popcorn makes a good evening snack. You can see from the above meal plans that healthful eating can be simple and does not have to involve lots of time in the kitchen. That extra free time will give you a chance for spending time doing things you love without being caught up in the endless cycle of craving and guilt.

Source - www.naturalnews.com

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