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What is the connection between Mood and Food?
copyright 2006 by Greg Landry, M.S.





Many people who lead stressful lifestyles find some trace of comfort in food. Certain life events, such as unemployment, health problems, or divorce can lead to a drastic change in mood. Some people even experience mood changes due to daily hassles, such as a stressful work environment. These daily hassles and life changing events can all trigger different emotions and eventually lead to unnecessary overeating. So what exactly is the association between food and mood? Why do we reach for food whenever we feel tense?

Certain foods, such as chocolate, have addictive qualities. When we consume chocolate, our bodies release a trace of satisfaction hormones. These satisfaction hormones help us get rid of negative emotions temporarily. For some of us, finding comfort in a specific food may be closely related to our past. For instance, you might recall a time when you were a young child and your grandma took you out for ice-cream. This may be a pleasant childhood memory which you recall whenever you are stressed thereby reaching for ice-cream as a means of comfort.

Food also serves as an excellent distraction. Whenever you feel worried or stressed out about an upcoming event you may find certain comfort in food. When you turn to food, your tension minimizes because your thoughts start to focus on the pleasant taste. However, it is important to know that this feeling is only temporary. When you are done, you will return to your worry stage; and whatís even worse is that you may feel additional burden on your shoulders- the guilt of overeating. To conclude, it is clear that certain foods can improve our mood, even if itís only temporary. However, it is not the best way to help ourselves out of a stressful situation.




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