When we feel good, and when our body is healthy, we’re happier. That’s pretty basic logic even children can grasp, so why do we struggle with proper nutrition so much?
A lot of it has to do with poor habits steeped in childhood (such as food insecurity). Also using food for comfort and the addictive nature of some foods are bad habits. Any type of addiction, including sugar addiction, can cause depression, mood swings, dependency, and much more. Addiction to sugar can also encourage binge eating disorder (BED). This is a type of eating disorder, as well as the night-eating syndrome (NES).
It’s not all bad news for sweet lovers
Cacao, the ingredient in chocolate, releases the same endorphins we enjoy when we fall in love. Of course, addiction to endorphins is also possible, and it’s all about moderation. Still, when consumed in moderation, we’re able to alter our mood for the better.
Dark chocolate also comes with a myriad of potential health benefits. It’s a natural superfood antioxidant. Is good for heart health and cognitive function, and protects from free radicals. Aim for a dark chocolate that’s at least 85%. The strength of the flavor and lack of dairy/sugar also helps keep you from over-eating.
Lack of proper nutrition and malnutrition is, unsurprisingly, linked to bad moods
Those with restrictive eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia are known for having intense mood swings. This eating disorders includes purging but also covers any activity that removes calories to an excessive degree, such as exercising for hours.
It makes sense because our bodies are machines that require not just fuel, but the right fuel, to function properly. Lack of nutrition is linked to insomnia because the natural instinct to look for food trumps anything else, including the need for sleep. Radical changes in blood sugar levels can also impact a person’s mood. Malnutrition and lack of proper nutrition don’t make for a happy disposition.
Depending too much on false energy boosts such as caffeine, whether in soda or coffee, can also shift a person’s happiness position. We live in a culture where it’s not just accepted but encouraged by jokes and memes to be a monster before that morning cup of coffee.
However, needing caffeine – the most commonly used in the west – in order to function is a clear sign of dependency. If you think you’re addicted to caffeine, you likely suffer from at least moderate mood swings dependent on your intake. Try starting the morning with warm lemon water first and wait at least 30 minutes before consuming caffeine. Green and black tea, which contain caffeine but less than coffee, are a good alternative and come with health benefits.
For some, adopting a vegetarian lifestyle boosts their happiness quotient. That’s because they consider “kind eating” healthier for the planet. It’s not the right fit for everyone, but it highlights the importance of researching and knowing what’s in your food and how that impacts your happiness.
Trevor is a freelance writer and recovering addict & alcoholic who’s been clean and sober for over 5 years. Since his recovery began, he has enjoyed using his talent for words to help spread treatment resources and addiction awareness. In his free time, you can find him working with recovering addicts or outside enjoying almost any type of fitness activity imaginable.
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