Are You A Comfort Food Eater?
We all crave different foods, but especially during the cold part of the year. We get this feeling if we just eat certain things it will somehow give us a boost in energy and to our mood. The truth is most foods we crave are not healthy whole foods that will achieve this. Instead we tend to crave foods that do the opposite, like a soda or sweet indulgent coffee drink (both for the caffeine slump in the mid afternoon), processed foods filled with carbs and sugar or heavy fat items such as some hot fries through the drive through or a sweet milkshake. If you’re guilty of this, then you might just be guilty of being a comfort food eater.
The bummer is most of these comfort foods leave us in a bigger slump than we were already in and not long after they have passed over our lips (not to mention they all help pack on the pounds). New research shows that there’s also a link to eating these types of food and inflammation in our body that interferes with the mood regulating chemicals in our brains, possibly even leading to a depressed state.
However, did you know that when you eat heavy carb based foods, doing so actually fuels the production of serotonin? This is your brain’s neurotransmitter that makes you feel good and activates receptors in your brain that help control your appetite and your mood. Like in the winter right now, there is less daylight and so our bodies produce less serotonin. As a response to this we carb load to stimulate the production of more serotonin. It’s something to be watchful of though! Pick the right carbs to achieve this, like healthy complex carbs, not simple processed carbs.
Another fact is that fewer hours of daylight causes our bodies to produce more of the sleep inducing chemical melatonin. This is why we sometimes feel lethargic in the winter and it can cause you to crave sugar. This is another pitfall for many because gorging on sweets will ultimately leave you grumpy and sometimes even depressed. Consuming lots of sugar causes a blood-sugar spike in your body creating these challenging symptoms. Sugar can be a quick source of energy, but it’s a poor choice to get that much needed boost. A much better alternative is to get your lift from a great cup of delicious organic coffee….leave the sugar out though.
One of the best cures for consuming too many comfort foods is instead eating sunshine….getting plenty of vitamin D (which is actually a hormone, not a vitamin). It’s great for chasing away the seasonal winter blues but it also improves your production of serotonin and less melatonin, which will boost your energy and you’ll feel great. It’s an incredible immune booster that will help you get through the flu season! If you can’t actually sit in the sun or escape to the tropics, then definitely supplement this amazing hormone every day. You’ll feel the difference.