Imagine biting into that last piece of chocolate left in your fridge and feeling like the happiest person on Earth. Well, that feeling is real and has a science behind it. Can you believe this? Chocolate boosts your mood instantly as it improves blood flow to your brain. Similarly, there are a host of common food items that we might be consuming every day without being aware of their happiness-boosting qualities. This past Sunday, March 20, was the International Day of Happiness. To commemorate the occasion, we are here to tell you more about these happy foods. But first, let’s get to the basics.
According to the universally accepted definition, hormones are chemicals produced by different glands across the human body. They travel through the bloodstream, acting as messengers and playing a part in many bodily processes.
Certain hormones in your body are known to help promote positive feelings, including happiness and pleasure.
These “happy hormones” include:
Dopamine, which is also known as the “feel-good” hormone.
Serotonin, which helps to regulate your mood as well as your sleep, appetite, digestion, learning ability, and memory.
Oxytocin, quite often referred to as the “love hormone,” is essential for childbirth, breastfeeding, and strong parent-child bonding.
Endorphins are considered your body’s natural pain reliever that the human body produces in response to stress or discomfort.
Now, let’s talk about the everyday food items that you didn’t know could help boost your happy hormones. Here are a few to make you happy!
No, we don’t mean that literally! But yes, this fruit does boost your mood. Everyone knows bananas are full of potassium, but what you may not know is that they also contain tryptophan, a brain chemical that helps to regulate your mood. Bananas are also a good source of B vitamin folate, and having low levels of the vitamin has been linked to depression, as per research conducted over the years. So, go have a banana, every morning, maybe?
Eggs are loaded with mood-promoting omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, B vitamins, and iodide. And because they are packed with protein, they will also keep you full and energised for a long time after you have eaten them. Need any other reason to crack some shells in the morning, apart from boosting your mood? A 2008 study in the International Journal of Obesity found that people who consumed two eggs for breakfast lost significantly more weight than those who chomped on maybe a bagel or a croissant.
Turns out the warm fuzzy feeling you get after having chocolates isn’t just about the taste. Cocoa also gives you an instant boost in mood and concentration, and improves blood flow to your brain, helping you feel more vibrant and happy, almost instantly. Research conducted by the British Pharmacological Society has also pointed out that cocoa flavanols can boost your cognitive performance, making it easier to keep that focus intact. Sadly, your regular chocolate bars and milk chocolate won’t cut it. Cocoa is the chocolate ingredient that does your body good and makes you happy, so pure dark chocolate is your best bet.
We all know that saying and surprise! It actually works — an apple a day really does keep the doctor away. Eating fruits such as apples produces a calming effect, creates more energy, and increases overall happiness in the human body. When consumed daily, it increases serotonin levels in the brain, similar to the effects of dark chocolate, as we already saw above. In addition to these effects, apples can also increase dopamine (also known as the feel-good hormones) levels.
Honey, unlike regular sugar, is packed with beneficial compounds like quercetin and kaempferol that reduce inflammation, keeping your brain healthy and warding off depression, thus making you happy. Honey also has other benefits like boosting antibacterial properties, helping you to fend off illnesses that can in turn make you feel bogged down or unhappy.
Happy foods are great but here is a video that talks about food sustainability why it is important:
Can you tell us about more such food items that boost your mood? Don’t forget to comment below.
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Writing has always been Shreesha’s passion, be it for imparting knowledge or expressing opinions. In her former role as a journalist, she contributed to enriching society with knowledge. Now, at BYJU’S, she has moved on to something more exciting – creating tailor-made content for students. When she is not writing, you would find her looking for new ways to engage her child.
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