We all know how food can change our mood and uplift spirits within minutes. This is especially relevant when we talk about candies or sweet drinks. But did you know that it is not only about delicious food, but also the colour of the food you eat? Yes, the colours of the food also play a great role in how it affects our mind and overall wellness.
Whenever you are feeling down, tense, exhausted or just had a bad day, having a delicious dinner can quickly save the situation. This is because food is our biggest energy resource which can help us handle complex tasks, work out, wake up and perform any daily task. In addition, food also works as nutrition for our mental activity, so we can focus, perform well at work and stay active all day long.
Since food is essential for us to live, scientists always try to find new ways and benefits to improve our diet. As a result, they came up with the theory that certain foods can help us improve our mood and lift our spirits. Let’s explore what food is, how it works and why.
How Does Food Make Us Happy?
To understand how certain foods can make us happier, it is vital to first learn how the brain regulates mood. Our brains use neurotransmitters which act as communication signals to notify the rest of your body and to issue and release its commands. For example, our brain tells the heart to beat when it sends octopamine to receptors located in the nerve fibres that create the cardiac muscle tissue.
The same happens to keep our mood stable. There are two types of neurotransmitters responsible for how we feel, and they are known as inhibitory and excitatory. Excitatory neurotransmitters are needed to stimulate both body and mind. However, we can feel overwhelmed after being amped up for too long; therefore, this type of neurotransmitter can even lead to unhappiness. Inhibitory neurotransmitters like our happy hormone serotonin provide a calming influence on our minds. This means we have the best mood only when there is a balance between these two types.
And these two mood-affecting chemicals are created by compounds found in food. Some foods are better at releasing these chemicals and help us achieve mental balance. While some foods contain chemicals that affect our mood, others can make us happy eating them. Let’s explore these comfort foods.
How Does Food Colour Affect Our Mood?
Scientists found that food colour is vital in how it affects our mood. This is because our eyes are influenced by the visual cue of colour when it comes to how something tastes. Therefore, colourful food has been shown to influence our brain to create an expectation that some colours will taste a certain way. Even if the food isn’t so tasty, our brain will first create an expectation about the colour and make us think the food is more delicious than it is. So the more colourful the food is, the tastier our brain considers it.
Food that Makes Us Happy
Sparkling Spirulina Drink
It is a blue-green algae that is thought to be one of the oldest life forms on Earth. Being colourful and beneficial to overall health, spirulina is considered a superfood packed with numerous nutrients, including protein levels comparable to eggs.
The bright colour of spirulina affects our mood, boosting spirits and making us happier. It is also referred to as one of the best electrolyte drinks without sugar, weight loss drinks and caffeine alternatives. So when we consume it, we also think about how it can affect our health, which also boosts our mood. Spirulina is also available in various forms, like powders and drinks such as Sparking Spirulina Drink by Ful.
Fatty fish like salmon are colourful and highly delicious. In addition, this fish is packed with nutrients and microelements essential for our health and wellbeing. For example, omega-3 fatty acids refer to a group of essential fatty acids that we must get through the diet because we cannot produce them on our own.
Fatty fish contains a perfect balance of omega-3s — docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) that are linked to health benefits for health and mood, like lower levels of depression. This is because these fatty acids contribute to the fluidity of our brain’s cell membrane and have a great role in brain development and cell signalling.
We all know that bananas are colourful. In addition, they are delicious and work as an excellent healthy snack. Since they are high in vitamin B6, bananas can help synthesise mood-supporting neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin.
Bananas also contain fibre which allows sugar to be released slowly into your bloodstream, which creates stable blood sugar levels and a better mood. This is because low sugar levels may lead to irritability and mood swings.
Moreover, the banana, as a ubiquitous tropical fruit, especially with green on the peel, is a perfect source of prebiotics. It is a type of fibre that is used to feed healthy bacteria located in our digestive system. A healthy gut microbiome is known to lower mood swings and disorder rates.
As we mentioned, colourful food is our happy food. Berries are also delicious and work as a treat for our mood. Scientists found out that eating more fruits and vegetables is associated with lower rates of mood disorders.
Even though the mechanism isn’t clear, a diet rich in berries treats your body with antioxidants that can help manage inflammation which is linked to depression and other mood disorders. Berries also contain high levels of phenolic compounds, which have a great role in combating oxidative stress, which is an imbalance of harsh chemicals in your body.
Since berries are high in anthocyanins, a pigment responsible for certain berries is their purple-blue colour. One 2018 study published in the Molecules journal found that a diet rich in anthocyanins reduces the risk of depression by 39%.
Food is known as one of the common ways of improving mood. This is because food works as an energy source, while some foods can also lift our spirits. Food that is colourful and contains nutrients have been shown to positively affect our mood and even decrease levels of mood disorders. This guide shows you why it happens and what food you can add to your diet to achieve better mental balance.