Discussion Board #8
Read the “WELLNESS CONNECTION” article below and discuss this week.
Some questions to ask yourself and/or discuss could be: Can foods affect the way some of us feel? Can they enhance our mental ability? Have you experienced this affect? Or is this just a bunch of scientists stretching their research data and making false claims?
WELLNESS CONNECTION Eating Habits and Total Wellness Healthy eating does more than nourish your body—it enhances your ability to enjoy life to the fullest by improving overall wellness, both physical and mental. One study examined a group of adults who followed a healthy eating plan for 4 years. At the end of this period, the study subjects were more conﬁdent with their food choices and more satisﬁed with their lives in general than their peers who did not make any dietary changes. The reverse is also true—when people overeat, they often have feelings of guilt, anger, discouragement, and even self-loathing. Out-of-control eating can erode self-conﬁdence and lead to depression. Can individual foods affect the way we feel? Limited scientiﬁc evidence points to some correlation between certain foods and one’s mood. Many people, especially women, seem to crave chocolate when they feel slightly depressed. Studies show that chocolate, in small quantities, may indeed give you a lift. Sugary foods tend to temporarily raise serotonin levels in the brain, which can improve mood (serotonin is a neurotransmitter associated with a calm, relaxed state). The fat found in chocolate acts to increase endorphins, brain chemicals that reduce pain and increase feelings of well-being. Chocolate also contains a variety of other less studied chemicals that may have a positive impact on mood. Some recent research shows that eating certain carbohydrate-rich foods, such as a plain baked potato or a bagel with jelly, can have a temporary calming effect. This effect is most pronounced when rapidly digestible carbohydrates are consumed alone, with no fats or proteins in the meal. The practical implications of this research are uncertain. If you are looking for a mental boost, some scientists think that eating a meal consisting primarily of protein-rich foods may be helpful. The theory is that proteins contain the amino acid tyrosine, which the body uses to make the neurotransmitters dopamine and nor epinephrine. Some researchers think that eating protein-rich foods could increase the synthesis of these neurotransmitters, which can speed reaction time and increase alertness. Whether this really works, especially in well-nourished individuals who have not been lacking these nutrients to begin with remains to be seen. In the meantime, it wouldn’t hurt, and might even help, to include some protein in the meal you eat prior to your next big exam.
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