Does How You Feel Affect Nutritional Absorption?

Eating is one of the few things that we do regularly that pleases all of our senses all at once. I love eating! I bet you do too. If that’s the case, then why do you swallow your food without tasting it? Why do you eat while you’re doing something stressful, like working or driving in traffic? Why do we love to eat, yet eat while not tasting, smelling, or seeing our food?

Not only does this elevate our stress hormone cortisol and result in weight gain especially in the mid section, but we actually don’t absorb as much of the nutrients. We need to eat with pleasure NOT under stress. “Researchers find that pleasure stimulates an array of physiological processes directly affecting neuroendocrine, inflammatory, immunological, and cardiovascular systems. It lowers output of cortisol, dampening responses to acute stressors and minimizing anxiety. Pleasure relaxes blood vessels, decreases blood pressure, and reduces load on the heart.” Enjoyment actually affects our nutritional absorption. The greater the pleasure, the greater the absorption of key nutrients such as iron.

Along the pleasure note since we are social creatures, sharing food and convening at the table brings deeper gratification. A Columbia University study showed that eating dinner “as a family” most evenings predicts both adjustment and school performance among affluent and poor children. It’s the closest thing to guaranteed success.

Cheers to fully enjoying eating for health, happiness, and reaching our perfect weight.

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