Food & Mood
You all know that feeling. That feeling of longing. . . of needing something dark brown, moist, gooey, perhaps salty or creamy (nothing beats a great homemade Macaroni & Cheese!). Perhaps the smell of homemade bread fresh and hot, straight out of the oven. Can you smell it? What memories does this bring up for you? What emotions do you begin to experience?
Where do those feeling come from? Are they possibly memories from a past experience that was so wonderful, you keep conjuring those memories up and those cravings come back time-and-time again, or is a craving simply your body saying it needs a certain nutrient? Most research shows that these are actually a psychological or hormonal phenomenon. For example, you can imagine the smell of eucalyptus and it’ll help your craving go away.
What is known, is that what you put in your mouth has a direct impact on your emotions. Nutritional deficiencies, food sensitivities, blood sugar imbalances, substance abuse and stimulants (like caffeine) affect biochemistry and contribute to mood fluctuations and compromised emotional states. Additives in processed foods generate adverse chemical reactions within the body and drastically affect mood and behavior in many children and adults.
Some of these synthetic substances are labeled “excitotoxins” by nutritionists and wellness experts. These include additives such as high fructose corn syrup, trans-fats, artificial flavors and colors (food dyes), artificial sweeteners, MSG and other preservatives. (You can read more about the dangers of these and other chemicals in our foods on the American Nutrition Association website (http://americannutritionassociation.org/newsletter/review-excitotoxins-taste-kills). These chemicals deliver messages to the brain and cells of the body just like any exogenous ligand. More than one specific ligand can “fit” into a receptor. As heroin fits in the same opiate site as endorphins, so can these toxic food chemicals unlock receptor sites in our brain and transmit influences that, if we knew, we would never let in.
So once again, we have a choice on what chemical soup we want to ingest. The old adage, “we are what we eat,” couldn’t ring more true. Or perhaps a better way to say it would be “We express emotionally what we eat.”
Be sure to come back next week where we’ll be discussing The Importance of the Sense of Smell and using the Power of Essential Oils to Choose Your Mood.
To Your Emotional & Physical Health!