Most of us know that when we’re having a bad day, or are just feeling emotional or over tired, there’s certain foods that make us feel better. Even though we know that the foods don’t actually change the current situation, for a little while, they distract us from our problems. Turning to foods in times of stress or emotional upheaval has never been considered a good thing. Many dietary experts consider emotional eating to be the leading cause of obesity. The stigma attached to emotional eating means that most of us take our ice cream and chocolate bars and hide while we devour them.
A recent study indicates that when it comes to turning to food when we’re stressed isn’t the shameful form of escape we’ve always assume it to be. A recent study shows that there might be more to turning to foods when we need cheering up than anyone ever suspected. The results of the study indicate that some foods, or the flavors of certain foods, really do make us happy. Indulging in these foods/flavors while stressed or feeling depressed can actually be a form of self-medicating. The right foods/flavors can change the way you view the world while also keeping you off artificial medications that can have some nasty side effects.
Doctors have become very quick when it comes to prescribing anti-depressants as soon as a patient says that they aren’t feeling like themselves. The problem with the anti-depressants, other than the side effects, is that they aren’t always effective. Research indicates that the medications only work for about half of the patients that they’ve been prescribe to. Taking the pills and finding that they don’t work can actually make the patient feel worse, like they will never be cheerful again. Another problem with the anti-depressant pills is that they have to be taken on a regular basis, the patient can’t just wait until they feel like they need a boost.
Research done by the American Chemical Society in Philadelphia indicates that foods and flavor compounds could provide the perfect solution. The study investigated the reaction test subjects had to approximately 1,700 different flavors. In some cases, the research subject experienced a stronger rush of endorphins, natural mood boosters, when they tasted certain flavors, one of which was perennial favorite, chocolate. While chocolate was one of the flavors that proved to be just as effective as medications, some alternatives that won’t take a toll on your waistline include blueberries, strawberries, and tea.
In the future, it’s possible that instead of handing patients prescriptions to take to the drug store, doctors will actually help patients put together a diet plan that will help them find true happiness. In the meantime, tucking a small bit of chocolate or some dried fruit into your purse or briefcase before leaving for work could help you get through the day.
Doug Dvorak website is full of all sorts of fun and interesting tidbits visitors can use to help improve their happiness and quality of life.