It is a known fact that what we eat affects how we feel, and how we think affects what we eat. Is your “stinkin thinkin” keeping you from being as healthy as you could be? Indeed, it is possible that healthy thoughts help people make better food choices.
Participants in one food choice study were asked to fast for three or more hours. Afterward they were connected to a functional magnetic resonance imaging machine. Each study member was shown pictures of 180 food items that ranged from junk food to healthy vegetables and fruit.
After being shown the images, participants were instructed to indicate whether or not they would want to eat the food or not eat the food. Participants were given one of three instructions when making their food choices.
The first option was that they were to think about the healthfulness of the food; the second option was to think about how the food would taste; and the third option was to make the decisions naturally without any focused thoughts. Each time a participant expressed a strong desire for the food, they were given the food to eat, later to be asked to rate how the foods tasted and how healthful they were.
The researchers found that those people who were instructed to think about the healthfulness of a certain food were less likely to choose unhealthy items even if they thought they would taste good. They were also more likely to eat healthy food that they did not necessarily think was tasty.
Brain Function and Food Choices
The ventral medial prefrontal cortex is the part of the brain that is used to decide what to eat. However, the study scans indicated that the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is used when self control kicks into the decision making process.
It is clear that when serious thought is put into food choices based on how healthy foods are, we will probably make better decisions. Long-term health can only be achieved when our thinking is straight.
The way you think truly is the cornerstone of reaching your health goals.