Let’s start with the simple things first. Your brain loves that state where you eat fat, salt, and sugar. Brains seldom came across fat, salt, and sugar in nature until the last hundred years, and when they did, the rule was simple: Eat everything in front of you until it ends.
Our brains have evolved to release neurotransmitters like dopamine (which makes you feel happy), endorphins (one of the happiness hormones responsible for altering a person’s mood when feeling pain or stress), or endocrinologists (a group of neurotransmitters that play a role in processes like appetite and pain), to thank you. Eat fat, salt and sugar. Basically, the cause of the euphoria stimulated by these neurotransmitters is related to keeping the brain awake.
Yes, some foods will make you happier, but they are temporary, and given the way your brain develops, the pleasure you feel from eating fat, salt, and sugar is fleeting. People who sell you foods saturated in fat, salt, and sugar really like this aspect of brain development, which also applies to orgasms, where pleasure becomes short-term due to evolutionary design. So why is this happening? The answer is related to the two goals of the brain: survival and reproduction. Brains prefer that state in which we continue to eat and have sex.
How about everything else you eat? Assuming that you are a normal, healthy person, and while ignoring fat, salt and sugar, the answer to the question: Are there any nutrients you should eat to feel happier and healthier? It is no, there is no evidence whatsoever to support such a claim. In fact, the brain doesn’t work that way at all.
On the contrary, we will experience bouts of depression, feel miserable, or experience cognitive impairments from poor diets that contain a lot of fat and sugar. Common claims that food can improve your mood and thinking depend on making your diet less harmful or less harmful to your overall health. In simple terms: Poor diets are bad for the brain, and in return, do not expect that any particular food will make you happy throughout the day. Again, brains don’t work this way, and remember that all that this method brings to our minds is ephemeral pleasure.
Much evidence has linked an unhealthy diet with cognitive decline and depression associated with obesity, caused by metabolic syndrome (a medical term given to a combination of some diseases that includes high blood pressure and obesity, which negatively affects cardiovascular health), diabetes, and cancer. These conditions lead to chronic inflammation throughout the body that predisposes us to depression and cognitive decline.
In addition, depression or anxiety can lead to poor eating habits, and similarly, poor food choices may lead to depression and anxiety, and although it may be difficult to determine which comes first for some people, most relevant studies indicate that An unhealthy diet is a significant risk factor for future depressive symptoms.
Unfortunately, there is rigorous but very limited scientific evidence for humans to link certain nutrients to our moods, but we have a lot of evidence from animal studies (mostly rodents), but I have major concerns about the validity and applicability of these studies to humans. Because rodent food contains a lot of unhealthy fats, it also usually contains very high calories from soybean or corn oil and sugar. These diets are not considered normal for the rodents themselves, especially for human consumption.
There is no doubt that some diets are certainly more beneficial than others, for example: the Mediterranean diet has been associated with a lower risk of depression (this diet is inspired by the traditional dietary patterns in Greece and southern Italy, and some Mediterranean regions, and includes high consumption of oil. Olives and legumes, fruits, and vegetables, moderate amounts of fish and dairy products, and a low percentage of meat and meat products). Note the quality of the finding here: the risk of developing depression was lowered compared to eating a poor diet. Research on popular diets, such as those that recommend high protein or carbohydrate intake, found no relationship between mood and nutrient content.
Another 23-month study looked at the relationship between diet and general mood, in 84 adults with metabolic syndrome. The scientists carefully monitored the participants’ daily intake of grains, vegetables, fruits, dairy products and meat, the percentage of energy provided by total and saturated fats, as well as their daily intake of cholesterol and sodium.
The number of different foods consumed daily determines the extent of the diversity of the diet, and daily moods are determined by the visual peer scale (it is a tool to measure behaviors when answering an element of the scale, respondents determine their level of agreement with a phrase by clarifying their position at a point on a continuous line between two points).
The results confirmed that a poor diet that is high in saturated fat and high in calories leads to depression. Perhaps most importantly, researchers’ analysis of the effects of certain nutrients indicated that people who consumed more water, fiber, ascorbic acid (also known as vitamin C), and tryptophan (an essential amino acid that cannot be synthesized in the body but must be obtained from an external source) , helps with athletic performance, and smoking cessation), magnesium, and selenium reported an overall better mood. It is well known that a diet rich in legumes, fruits and vegetables, such as the Mediterranean diet, provides these nutrients.
One intriguing finding was that a diet containing a variety of fruits and vegetables was more effective than a diet of limited variety. It is not yet known what role fiber plays in controlling mood, but there is a possibility that the results of this study correlate with the presence of fiber in most of the legumes, fruits and vegetables that the participants consumed.
Perhaps the most encouraging point to glean from this study, and similar studies, is that it is not too late to take advantage of the benefits of a healthy diet. All you have to do is not expect that any particular food will make you happier or healthier. Lack of beneficial nutrition often leads to impaired brain function, and conversely, eating a healthy diet can restore you to normal levels of brain function.