As midterm season rolls around and you find yourself counting down the days to summer, you may need a little extra boost to help you power through the rest of the quarter. As it turns out, eating can actually help solve your problems (not that we needed more proof).
Endorphins are neurotransmitters released in the brain that are produced as a response to certain stimuli, including stress, fear, or pain. They are responsible for our feelings of pleasure and have been linked to an increased sense of well being.
These “feel-good” chemicals are released after we exercise or do physical activity, but if you don’t have time to hit the gym, here are some alternative ways to induce a release of endorphins and increase your happiness levels.
Certain aromas have been linked to endorphin release, including vanilla. Add a drop or two of vanilla extract to your morning coffee or spritz some vanilla-scented aromatherapy before bed.
As if you needed any more excuses to enjoy chocolate, dark chocolate contains chemicals that prompt the release of endorphins, making you feel happier.
The burning aftertaste you feel in your mouth when eating spicy foods is actually a feeling of pain. Your body’s natural reaction to this feeling is to release endorphins, which produce a sense of well-being and ameliorate the effects of the spiciness. Next time you order a burrito, go for the hot salsa to give your mood a jumpstart.
This fruit is rich in vitamin C, which aids in the production of endorphins. For a double dose, dip them in dark chocolate and revel in the fact that you now have a valid excuse to eat chocolate covered strawberries.
They call it happy hour for a reason. According to a study done by a group of researchers at UCSF, drinking alcohol leads to the release of endorphins in areas of the brain that produce feelings of pleasure and reward. Cheers to the freakin’ weekend.
Here are some more articles that detail the health benefits of food: