In recent years, there is an increased awareness of how food affects our emotional state and how our emotional state affects what we eat.
Our mindset has a direct impact on everything that we do. Optimal performance at work, sports, social life and diet depends on how well we manage our state of mind and our emotional internal world. Balance and harmony between our thoughts, feelings and behaviour will maximise our experience and our chances to attain any objective we set for ourselves.
Psychology applied to food and its usefulness
Eating is more than just an instinctive act, all of our being comes into play when we eat.
Mood and Nutrition
Research has shown that there is a correlation between mood and food. Recent findings indicate that there are many connections between what we eat and the types of bacteria that live in our guts which affect how we feel and even, how we behave. Advances in neurogastronomy reflect the signifincance of such findings as eating is a unique and subjective interpretation of flavors.
In this sense, the psychology of food is not only applied to improve people's well-being, but restaurants, for example, make use of environmental psychology so that customers are more satisfied with what they eat and even consume more .
The inner workings of our digestive systems don’t just help us digest food, they also guide our emotions. Our bodies produce serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate sleep and appetite, mediate moods and inhibit pain. Ninety-five percent of serotonin is produced in our gastrointestinal tract, which is lined with millions of nerve cells, or neurons.
The Second Brain
Our anxiety levels and perception of stress can improve when we take probiotics, which contain “good” bacteria. Research of traditional diets, such as the Mediterranean diet and the traditional Japanese diet also suggest that the risk of depression can lower up to a 30% when compared to a typical Western diet.
Our Gut, a second brain
“Anyone who has had a tingling in the stomach before speaking in public or who has had sudden diarrhea just before an exam knows the dual action of their brains,” explains dr. M. Gershon, specialist in the new science of neurogastroenterology and author of "The Second Brain"
That sensation is not about anything other than the dual action of our two brains.
The intestine uses the same neurotransmitters as the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter involved in feelings of well-being.
Did you know? 95% of human serotonin is found in the intestine, where it acts as a neurotransmitter, signal mechanism and information exchanger between the "higher" and "lower" brain.
Serotonin can affect "mood, sexual desire and function, appetite, sleep, memory and learning, temperature regulation, and some social behavior."
Furthermore, increase in serotonin levels in the brain can help control anxiety and depression, and the somatic experience associated to it.
The impact of stress can take many forms and changes in digestion, sleep, memory, appetite, mouth dryness can be observed as a results.
Check out our section on Empowering Tools to learn and develop ways to manage stress and anxiety in your day to day life.
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