How Food Affects Happy Hormones

We often forget that the sole purpose of food is to fuel our bodies with strength, energy, and nutrients. Eating for pleasure has become a common activity with the option of different restaurants and cultures to explore. While tasting can be enjoyable, certain foods may not be necessary in sustaining your health. Foods will affect your body and brain in different ways, so it’s important to find foods that boost your happy hormones. 

What are Happy Hormones? 

Most have heard the saying, “you are what you eat”, but is it really true? It turns out that the food you ingest actually affects both your physical and mental health. There are certain chemicals in the body that promote feelings of happiness, known as your “happy hormones.” These chemicals include Dopamine, Serotonin, Endorphins, and Oxytocin. 

  • Dopamine is a neurotransmitter responsible for your “feel-good” moments and acts as the brain’s reward system. When you complete a necessary or pleasurable task that contributes to your survival, Dopamine is released. 
  • Serotonin is a natural mood stabilizer, responsible for a range of physical and psychological functions such as digestion, sleep, stress, and more. 
  • When your body feels pain, Endorphins are released to help you survive through the stressful situation.
  • Oxytocin is known as the “love” hormone, released when experiencing different forms of affection.

What to Eat & What to Avoid

To trigger the release of these “happy hormones”, reach for foods that offer both a hormonal boost and provide high amounts of vitamins and minerals. These foods can include: asparagus, avocado, tomatoes, nuts, fruit, dark chocolate, and salmon. Foods to avoid are often what we choose to eat when we are feeling stressed out, which only provide short boosts and comfort. These foods do not offer any beneficial nutrients, and will not provide long lasting effects of positive emotions. Foods to avoid include: highly processed foods, sugary/caffeinated beverages (soda, tea, or coffee), alcohol, or simple carbohydrates (cookies, candy, cakes, ect). These foods are known to increase your depression and anxiety levels and can have a negative impact on your sleep. 

Who knew that food could influence our emotions while fueling our bodies? Creating a healthy relationship with food will do more than just change the appearance of your physique. Channel your “happy hormones” by making healthy choices and feeling good about them. 

Interested in learning more about what foods will give you a happy boost? Our professionals are ready to assist. Contact Your Lean Life today!