When you eat, do you you usually feel rushed or relaxed? Stressed or calm? Guilty or grateful? It turns out that your feelings are just as important as your food choices. How so?
Different thoughts and emotions activate different regions of the brain and stimulate the release of different neurotransmitters. If you’re feeling stressed, anxious or guilty you produce the stress hormone cortisol and you fire up what’s known as the sympathetic nervous system. This actually puts the breaks on digestion. Cortisol also leads to:
- preferentially turning calories into fat around your abdomen (visceral fat)
- eating faster
- craving sugar
If you eat exactly the same meal in a calm state and savour every mouthful, you activate the left prefrontal cortex of your brain and the parasympathetic nervous system. This leads to better digestion and less likelihood of depositing the calories as visceral fat. So sit down and really enjoy your food. You’ll be all the healthier for it.
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Please forward this Health-e-Byte to anyone who frequently eats on the run.