Do the Types of Food You Eat Influence Your Happiness?

Simerpreet Kaur, Angela Van
2017 UC Merced Undergraduate Research Journal  
One's daily individual diet can have substantial effects on alleviating negative emotions. Researchers have established that certain types of foods help produce positive emotions in individuals, whereas others can produce negative emotions. Foods that primarily consist of fruits, vegetables, complex carbohydrates, proteins, and good sources of fat have been associated with producing positive emotions that are lasting in individuals. Additionally, foods high in fat and carbohydrates, or highly
more » ... ocessed foods, though they may help dissipate negative emotions in the short term, research has suggested that they do not promote happiness in the long term and can even be detrimental to one's happiness. A survey study was conducted on students from the University of California, Merced to assess whether certain types of foods produce positive emotions among students. Results suggested that foods high in carbohydrates and fats helped students attenuate negative emotions such as stress, and these types of foods tended to be the first choice when students experienced negative emotions. Students primarily chose processed foods to rid themselves of negative emotions and promote happiness, whereas healthier choices were not a popular choice. Literature Review Do the Types of Food You Eat Influence Your Happiness? There are many aspects in life that are out of our control, but the nutrients that we fuel our bodies with is something that we can easily manipulate to improve well-being. Being able to manipulate our surroundings to foster happiness in our lives through voluntary intentional activities is only one of the three major factors that influence our happiness (Lebon, 2014). In fact, understanding the relationship between the types of food we eat and how these foods influence our happiness can play a critical role in our daily lives. We based our research topic around how food influences mood and happiness because food is a factor is not only necessary to our survival, it is also one aspect of our lives we can control. If the types of food we eat can promote happiness in our lives, then it is essential for our greater well being to understand this relationship between food and happiness. Literature Analysis An array of research has been conducted linking food to mood, and while there are still many ongoing studies, researchers have come to a few conclusions on how one's diet can affect their state of being. Food and mood have a reciprocal relationship, with one factor affecting the other. Researchers have established that negative emotions can act as triggers for consumption of certain types of foods, and interchangeably, one's mood can also influence the foods that they decide to consume (White et al., 2013). Specific types of diets and single food items have also been studied, with certain diets and food items having higher mood-enhancing benefits than others (Blanchflower et al., 2012). Across the vast array of studies that have been conducted on
doi:10.5070/m492034790 fatcat:twujmhd3fzaurbeloxez4qq7ti