The main reason people reach for another slice of pizza or a big brownie is because of the temporary impact on their happiness. However, that boost is often followed by a crash, especially for those who struggle with eating a healthy diet from nutrition reach food.
In the long run, eating healthy can make you happier than resorting to junk food to satisfy a craving. Here are some of the ways healthy eating can make you happier in life.
Positive Impacts on Your Mood Levels
When you eat a sugary treat, your body gets an instant mood boost brought on by a chemical reaction. The release of serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin create a temporary feeling of euphoria that leaves your body gasping for more. That’s why cravings are so powerful.
However, the feeling of euphoria is short-lived.
Eating healthy foods can release the same chemicals in moderate amounts over a longer period of time. That way, you’re getting a steady, sustainable dose rather than a quick blast that fades away and leaves you with nothing but guilt.
Here are some healthy options for getting a prolonged brain boost:
- Dopamine – eat lean protein, such as fish, eggs, lentils, Greek yogurt, chicken, and tofu.
- Serotonin – eat foods high in B vitamins, such as leafy greens (spinach and kale), whole grains, seeds, and nuts.
- Oxytocin – eat foods like eggs, salmon, nuts, and legumes.
By eating healthy, you regulate the release of these neurotransmitters for a more sustainable, healthy approach to life.
Eating Healthy Can Improve Your Energy
You may feel like you’re trapped in a vicious cycle: you know that eating healthy will give you more energy, but you don’t have the energy to start meal planning and prepping. That’s how Nutrisystem works for so many people: they reap the benefits of eating well without the hours of extra work.
Eating healthy also plays a role in how well you sleep, which, in turn, helps with weight management and overall mood and functionality. By eating a diet rich in fiber and vitamins, and low in added sugars, you’re helping to reduce sleep disruptions.
The hormonal regulation caused by eating healthy will help you sleep better, which will also improve your hormonal regulation. Furthermore, eating healthy will reduce indigestion and heartburn, which many people struggle with when they lay down at night. Finally, certain vitamins can help regulate your sleep cycles through melatonin production.
By eating healthy, you get caught in an upward spiral rather than a vicious cycle.
Fueling Your Goals and Accomplishments
Eating healthy can help you accomplish the things you’ve dreamed of doing, but haven’t been able to before.
Perhaps you’ve dreamed of being able to run a 5k or a half-marathon. Eating healthy can give you the fuel you need to accomplish those goals. Maybe it’s something as simple as feeling comfortable walking on the beach in a bathing suit. Changing your eating habits and focusing on replacing unhealthy foods with healthy alternatives can fuel the lifestyle change that makes your dream a reality.
There’s nothing like the feeling of achieving your goals, and nutrition plays an important role across the board. In this way, eating healthy can make you happier.
There’s a sense of self-satisfaction that comes with improving your life, beyond any set goal. This is a form of intrinsic motivation: feeling motivated by internal rewards, rather than tangible outcomes.
An external reward, for example, would be accomplishing that 5k or wearing a bikini for the first time in 20 years. An intrinsic reward is doing something because it feels great, and you feel proud of yourself for doing it.
Developing a healthy relationship with food can be life-changing. Take time to build small habits and find ways to improve your diet incrementally for sustainable change.