Food Psychology

Our relationship with the food really matters.
Food not only nourishes the body but also has an effect on our mind and soul.
Food is not only about the amount of vitamins or proteins it provides, but there are emotions and feelings associated with it.

In Hinduism, its considered that food is of three types : Rajasik , Tamasik and Sattvik.

There are different effects of it on our body. Tamasik food has sedative effect on body. Sattvik is very nutritious and healthy food. It provides calmth to the human body. Rajasik food has active and stimulating effect on the body. It makes a person aggresive and egoistic. But at the same time, enhances one’s creativity.

For example, it is said that people who eat more spicy food are somewhat short tempered. More tamasik food destroys immune system, which makes one less prone to fight against diseases. Onion and garlic are both tamasic and rajasik. They make you slow down. So, many sages ban onion and garlic (in case you follow them.)

Time of the day also decides which type of food to eat. For example, consuming rice in the morning makes one feel sleepy. Instead including rice in the dinner provides us sound sleep. To remain active throughout the day, one should have rajasik food.

Food items coming under sattvik, rajasik and tamasik are:

Sattvik – vegetables, fruits, milk, honey, yoghurt
Rajasik – oily, spicy, bottled fruit juices, tea
Tamasik – meat , liquor

So we could draw an inference that, humans need only satvik food to live. In addition to it, we require small amounts of rajasik food for increase in creativity and some tamasik food for stability.

I would like to make you aware with a concept called ‘Serotonin theory’.
Functions of serotonin in our body includes the regulation of sleep, appetite, and impulse control. Increased serotonin levels are related to mood elevation. Food-mood relationship surely exist. Our mind communicates with our digestive system. If we love a dish, the hypothalamus sends positive signals to different body parts which helps in burning calories more efficiently.

If we keep saying that a certain food item is unhealthy, then even if it is not, it would surely affect us psychologically. That doesn’t mean, a person suffering from cough consumes cold drinks regularly stating that he/she is psychologically strong.

Stress surely affects food intake amount. If you feel lonely or upset, it increases heart rate and blood pressure which in turn affects digestion. You might have noticed that one eats more when accompanied by a close one.

With increase in age, our taste fades. Healthy food has direct impact on nervous system. So we can take smarter decisions by having wholesome food.

Amount of food we eat also depends on the food presentation, the surroundings (being positive or negative). One cannot have a wholesome meal in a stressful atmosphere.

Even colors around us affect our food intake. Orange and yellow make our stomach growl a little. You might have observed restaurants using these colors more often (strategy you know):).

Here are some facts about food:

  • Smell of chocolate increases theta brain waves which triggers relaxation.
    Chocolate increases pleasant feelings and reduces stress. Eating chocolates before exams makes you remember a lot of information.
  • Caffeine increases activity.
  • Omega3 fatty acids improves mood and helps in emotional decision making.
  • Eating bananas can help fight depression.
  • Apples are more proficient in waking us up than tea or coffee.

Here are some fun food related quotes by some foodies out there I would like to share with you:
‘I won’t be impressed with technology until I can download food’.
‘I ate a cake because it is somebody’s birthday somewhere’.
‘I am a multitasker, while having breakfast I think about what food I am going to have at lunch’.
‘Think about the moment when the waitress is bringing food but then walks right past you’.

So, next time you eat anything, notice the food having a chat with your body. Do share those conversations with me. :)

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