Can food make us happy?
People often report cravings for particular foods, and that eating certain meals makes them happy. As a species, we evolved to make eating a pleasant experience, encouraging us to seek out high-calorie food to sustain ourselves when food was scarce.
The human brain has developed reward pathways associated with eating fat and sugar, which release mood-enhancing neurotransmitters, like dopamine and endorphins. Probably the most-studied example is chocolate, which contains phenylethylamine and this affects the body’s opioid production.
Comfort food, on the other hand, works more psychologically, and the pleasant feelings that it induces are often linked to sight, smell and taste, which can trigger a sense of nostalgia.
Discover more amazing technology in the latest issue of How It Works magazine. It’s available from all good retailers, or you can order it online from the ImagineShop. If you have a tablet or smartphone, you can also download the digital version onto your iOS or Android device. To make sure you never miss an issue of How It Works magazine, make sure you subscribe today!
Plus take a look at:
Why do we feel sleepy after eating?
Why does hot food make your nose run?