Synthesizing oxytocin while we plan, cook and eat is a plus of happiness. Mood Food is the Anglicism-neologism that defines this practice.
Mood Food is originally from Japan and it is a movement consisting of observing the more nutritional side of food. If it brings well-being and happiness, it is essentially good, and therefore the satisfaction that accompanies it at the time of its intake is not so important.
It sounds a bit harsh. Food is a reward or it can be understood as such by repeating the habit of eating something that gives us pleasure. This is how the brain learns that food and reward-satisfaction go together and a disturbance of the balance of these variables can lead to obesity.
In our more Mediterranean environment, this approach can be made more flexible. It would be about eating healthy to facilitate the production of serotonin , dopamine but at the same time promoting the release of endorphins, serotonin itself and oxytocin (also oxytocin, yes), not at the time of eating, but at the same time. Any manifestation that we manage to associate, of its acquisition, its preparation and finally its consumption.
It would be about generating happiness around the fact of eating healthy. There is the plenary session!
Healthy, nutritionally good food can also be fun and therefore its functional success is assured, because in the end it is the brain who eats and orders.
In the same way that in “depre” mode the brain can release stress and anxiety by ordering outrages from the point of view of food intake (in American movies the “disappointed” girl eats two chocolate bars or a jar of ice cream looking at TV is a “crying movie”), it is also the brain that can send “good vibes” signals around eating healthier.
NUTRIENTS AND OUR MOOD
In the eighties, scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) concluded that certain nutrients – fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and some carbohydrates – directly affect brain processes related to both perception and response in the form of elaborate thinking, which eventually turns into emotion and sensation.
A healthy diet not only influences the physical, but also emotional balance and intellectual performance. It is nothing new. The new thing is to make it fun so that happiness flows.
In the Mood Food trend, tryptophan, selenium, vitamins A, B, C and E, and omega 3s should be core elements.
AVOID TRYPTOPHAN DEFICIENCY
Selecting foods rich in tryptophan is a priority. We do not synthesize this amino acid, so we must take it as a nutrient to produce serotonin.
The deficit of this basic neurotransmitter of the hormonal system will not only have an impact on our emotions and mood, sleep, tolerance to pain, but it can increase the hunger for “fast carbohydrates” or high glycemic index (those of the effect yo-yo: refined sugars, white flours that quickly satisfy hunger, so that it reappears after a few hours with a feeling of fatigue).
If you incorporate banana, legumes, seeds and nuts into your dishes, you will be taking tryptophan.
SELENIUM FOR INTELLIGENCE
The Selenium is a trace element must also be incorporated. It is an antioxidant whose deficit leads to a certain memory disorder, bad mood, decreased cognitive function…
The Brazil nuts provide three to thirty times more selenium than other foods rich in this element (such as bread and other wheat flour or tuna). Ten grams of ground walnuts on a salad provide four times the necessary daily intake, more than 200 micrograms.
VITAMINS FOR A GOOD MOOD
- Other interesting foods are almonds, pumpkin seeds, and cucumber. The vitamin B6, B2 and folic acid help neuronal synaptic transmission.
- Vitamin E is another powerful antioxidant found in nuts and seeds (including pipes).
- Oranges provide vitamin C and help reduce anxiety and bad mood.
- Spinach will provide us with folic acid with which to get out of the dark side if we are warning our entry into it.
ENDORPHINS, OMEGA 3 AND BRAIN DEVELOPMENT
Walnuts and flax seeds are excellent vegetable sources of omega 3 alternatives to fish, but also turmeric, a component of curry or yellow mustard, may have a greater presence in our diet. That Alzheimer’s has a low incidence in the Hindu population is a fact. But do not forget “fun”, what brings pleasure. The capsaicin from the spice will make you release endorphins.
LOVE AND FOOD
Garlic, hazelnuts, strawberries have their point. And you don’t have to give up chocolate at all, it really relaxes.
As in Laura Esquivel’s novel Como agua para chocolate (1989), it is about putting love into what we do so that its burden is then released in the form of happiness. Tita, its protagonist, made Mood Food without knowing it (or knowing it!): The rose petals of its garnishes, the mole with almonds and sesame, the fat beans with Tezcuana chiles or the chiles en Nogada, are clear examples. Serving endorphins on a plate is ultimately what Tita did in the book.
ENJOY THE PROCESS
If cooking, in its more conventional definition of preparing food to be consumed, is one of the differences that we maintain with our “cousins”, also primates, it seems easy to integrate in the act of cooking a pinch of positive spirit , an ingredient of love, which turn what we eat into an act of “good vibes”.
If Mood Food encourages you to enjoy thinking about the foods you should buy, preparing the menu and finally tasting it, welcome.
Color, texture and aroma are as important as or more important than flavor, and induce the sensory that is transmitted to the brain and this will transform into “happiness”, which will again radiate outside.
Sometimes, added values, such as thinking about the selection of colors balancing reds with yellows, shades of green, a touch of violet, selecting a music evocative of something that we remember as pleasant, combining two or more ways of cooking (in cases where the cooking is necessary) or have the company of whoever you want by your side to share those foods, either in the kitchen or in the “selective” purchase (of choice of ingredients; not to fill the car to the full for the whole week) –And here everyone is valid, the couple, the children, a friend, a family member will make the difference between eating healthy and eating healthy with love.