Eating habits: Certain drinks can improve our mood
When it comes to the question of what really makes us happy, some people call it delicious food. But does nutrition really have an impact on our well-being? German scientists have now investigated this question and found that certain drinks can help to improve mood.
What makes us happy
Everyone wants to be happy, but what is the key to our well-being differs from individual to individual. In addition to a good partnership, pleasant friends or a fulfilling job, good food is often mentioned when it comes to increasing our well-being. However, German researchers have now found that the influence of the food does not play a significant role here - but the drinks do.
The influence of nutrition on our well-being
British scientists published a study last year that concluded that consuming fruits and vegetables increased satisfaction and well-being.
Chocolate should also make you happy and help reduce stress.
But how does what we eat and drink every day really affect our wellbeing? Psychologists from the universities of Gießen and Marburg have investigated this question in a current study.
They found that eating behavior generally did not significantly contribute to better wellbeing. But the consumption of drinks such as juice, coffee and alcohol led to an improvement in mood.
Reach unhealthy snacks in stressful situations
Although the assumption that eating makes you happy and helps reduce stress is widespread, there are also studies that show that people access snacks (mostly unhealthy), especially in stressful situations or in a negative mood, since self-control during eating is reduced .
And Jana Strahler, clinical psychologist at the Justus Liebig University Gießen, said in a message about the current study: "However, our data does not confirm the presumption that eating generally improves well-being."
“Rather, drinks such as juice, coffee and alcohol led to a better mood in the short term. The connection between eating and well-being, on the other hand, depended on whether someone under stress tends to eat more or is more of a restrained eater. ”
Together with Urs Nater from the Philipps University of Marburg, Strahler examined the relationship between eating behavior, well-being and stress for the first time under everyday conditions.
The results of the study were published in the journal "Biological Psychology".
Emotional and restrained eaters
As part of the study, a total of 77 adults were asked about their eating and drinking behavior and their well-being over four days of the week.
The subjects reported five times a day what they had been eating and drinking since the previous point in time and whether they were still hungry. A distinction was made between the type of meal (main course, snack, candy, other) and the main component of the meal (proteins, carbohydrates, fat, mixed).
At each measurement point, they also stated how good their mood was, how much energy they had and how stressed they felt. In addition, they had to submit a saliva sample at each time of measurement, which was examined for the stress hormone cortisol and the enzyme alpha-amylase.
At the beginning of the study, it was also determined for each person whether their eating behavior could be described as "emotional" or rather as "restrained".
No evidence of the stress-reducing effect of sweets
The relationship between food intake and well-being was analyzed at the subsequent measurement time. "We have not found a generally stress-reducing effect of sweet and high-calorie dishes," said Strahler.
However, there was a difference between emotional and restrained eater types: restrained eaters reported a higher stress experience after consuming sweets, while the feeling of stress decreased with emotional eaters.
"This coincides with findings from research into eating disorders, which show that women with anorexia or bulimia report an increasingly negative mood after experiencing an eating attack," the expert explained.
“Restrained eaters may experience eating high-calorie foods as a failure. With emotional eaters, however, the desired hedonic, rewarding, effect of the food seems to occur. ”
Mood improvement through drinks
This study also showed that the consumption of high-fat food led to a deterioration in general well-being.
Taking drinks such as water, juice, coffee and alcohol, on the other hand, tended to improve mood. Caffeinated drinks also made you feel more energetic.
Alcoholic beverages improved all measured aspects of subjective well-being. "However, it should be borne in mind that alcohol is often drunk in social situations that can also make you feel better," explained Jana Strahler. (ad)