Your food choices can modulate their emotions and brain power, say experts. Perhaps the old saying you are right: the heart of man is attained through the belly.
The breads and other foods high in carbohydrates can make you smile, while fish and meat are high in protein may help get the maximum grade on a test, according to research suggesting that what we eat changes how we think and feel.
“You can manipulate your mood and mental acuity just by what you eat and when it does, and such effects can happen very quickly,” said Dr. Judith Wurtman, research scientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and author of Managing Your Mind and Mood Through Food (Managing your mind and mood with food).
She and her husband, Dr. Richard Wurtman (also of MIT) have studied the relationship between food and mood during the past 30 years.
According to Wurtman, the news that carbohydrates can raise the spirits first emerged a dozen years ago, in studies conducted with women suffering from premenstrual syndrome.
“Eating carbohydrates have a profound and dramatic effect in improving mood,” said Wurtman. “I mean the anger, irritability, depression, difficulty concentrating and mental confusion. We find that such changes in mood could be reversed with carbohydrate-rich foods in about 30 minutes.”
Carbohydrates can do little to change serious clinical depression, but does seem to help battle the everyday sorrows small, he said. He noted that the reason could be simple: the body uses carbohydrates to manufacture serotonin, the main regulator of emotion in the brain. “The carbohydrates you eat and produce serotonin, the inconvenience of the moods that you may have can disappear, at least for a while,” he said.
However, there is a problem: eating a fatty food with carbohydrates makes the slower digestion and inhibits the response of welfare. “So if you really want to feel better, try carbohydrates, but something like a fat cereal for breakfast instead of a slice of bread smeared with [fatty] peanut butter,” Wurtman advised.
And what about protein? Wurtman noted that the science on it is a bit less solid.
“However, my husband discovered years ago that one of the amino acids in the protein, called tyrosine, it does increase the synthesis of two key chemicals in the brain, norepinephrine and dopamine, chemicals that we call the ‘brain alert’ he said. For this reason, Wurtman recommends high-protein diets for people who face long periods of mental effort, like preparing for an important exam. “These will help to replenish those chemicals in your brain,” he said.
The researcher noted that there are many myths about specific foods and their effects on emotions. The main myth is the supposed effect hiperactivante sugar.