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We spend most of our time looking for happiness in every aspect of our lives. But what if someone told us that the key is in what we eat? Eating is in fact one of life’s greatest pleasures, and choosing wisely what food we feed our body with can make the difference in long-term happiness.

The relationship between happiness and food has been a topic of discussion for centuries. As a matter of fact, medieval men were convinced that certain kinds of food were able to regulate their mood. They strongly believed that food like dates and elderberries were mood enhancers, and they considered lettuce and chicory as tranquilizers. Years later, it has been discovered that the change in mood depends on a chemical produced by nerve cells called Serotonin​, and that it also regulates perception, memory and attention. Low Serotonin levels are linked to mood disorders, such as anxiety or depression.

Food can have a huge impact on our mood, but it’s also proven that we tend to choose our food based on our mood. Dipping the spoon in vanilla ice-cream sounds like the perfect remedy to sadness as it brings a sense of short-term satisfaction, but it’s definitely not the healthiest option to go for in the long run. And even though we all know the truth about unhealthy food, when we are feeling low we still crave a slice of pizza more than kale. The tasting experience is what makes people want to choose certain kinds of foods over others. The issue is, diets higher on the glycemic index have been connected to depression and laziness, while healthy foods have been shown to help relieve stress.

But are healthy foods any good when it comes to tasting experience? Luckily for us, the answer is yes. Let’s take ​oats,​ for example. They are “smart carbohydrates” and mood boosters as they have a calming effect on your brain, and thanks to their low glycemic index, they are able to release energy into the bloodstream, keeping the blood sugar low and the mood stable. In fact, a bowl of porridge with fresh fruits and a spoon of honey doesn’t sound too bad, right? A food that goes really well with oats is ​berries. ​It’s not a surprise that even on salads, desserts or on ice cream, they still taste good. In addition to being loaded with fibers and low in calories, their antioxidants have been proven to reduce oxidative stress. And let’s be honest, everyone loves berries. Another tasty but healthy snack that will keep you in a happy mood is ​popcorn​. It can, in fact, reduce depression, provide energy and lower cholesterol levels. No wonder why movies are always better when you can snack on popcorn while watching them!

If it’s true that we are what we eat, then why wouldn’t we eat food that makes us happy?

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