Have you ever felt that craving for your favorite chocolate bar or a slice of fresh apple pie as the scent drifts from the pastry shop to you down the street? Or the desire to indulge in your favorite chocolate tart on a special occasion? It seems that our minds intuitively know what we often fail to understand, much like with so many other aspects of our existence. Sugar found in these delicacies is often the key ingredient that inspires us to go back to our favorite dessert.
Why? Because it helps your brain produce those wonderful happy chemicals, dopamine included, which stimulates the reward system in your brain, and that means you’ll always want some more. However, while some nutritionists advise you to never, ever enjoy sugar, a little bit can give you that wonderful source of enjoyment without the guilt. After all, too much of anything, and you end up in a toxic cycle for your body and your mind, alike.
Understanding just how sugar affects your mind and your body can help you moderate your consumption and choose the right sources of sugar to enjoy in your menu.
Diversify your stress management
There are days when you don’t have to worry about major life decisions, but then there are those days when there’s a pile of smaller annoyances and chores that keep pecking at you from the back of your mind. The demanding clients, your kids getting the flu, or lack of sleep can all be sources of stress every single day. You then experience a lack of zeal and energy, which in turn makes you less productive and sluggish.
This is where sugar can help you boost your energy levels and reduce your levels of the infamous stress hormone, cortisol. Whether you take a dark chocolate bar or you snack on a fruit salad, you should remember that there are various forms of sugar and that there are naturally-occurring sugars in healthy, nutritious foods. So, experiencing an energy slump is no excuse to binge-eat a bucket of ice-cream, but a chance to fuel your body with much-needed glucose from healthy sources.
Sweets with a mindful purpose
Celebrating those special milestones in life should be no source of stress. When you want to commemorate your marriage anniversary, an engagement, a birthday, or starting a new business venture, you can indulge in a little sugar. Many people choose to order cake online in order to celebrate those special occasions, all the while carefully choosing desserts that contain the most delicious and nutritious ingredients.
This approach grants you the chance to indulge and still remain in control of what kind of sugar and how much of it you will consume. When you know how to practice moderation and mindful eating, there’s no need to deprive yourself of such small pleasures in life that can add more meaning to your existence.
Keeping those happy hormones
We’ve already mentioned that sugar has a curious impact on your brain: it helps your body release those happy hormones, including dopamine, which makes you feel elated and energized. However, you need to make sure that you don’t overdo your sugar consumption, otherwise, the negative effects will outweigh the positive ones.
Although it’s perfectly acceptable to treat yourself to an occasional cupcake or ice cream, you should make sure that you reap those sweet benefits from healthy sources predominantly. Think: fresh fruit such as bananas, mangos, oranges, grapes, etc. Add to that, dark chocolate is a wonderful way to let all of your senses enjoy a healthy treat filled with magnesium, as well as iron and zinc. It’s all about variety in your diet and finding nutrient-dense sources of healthy sugars that will boost your energy and your wellbeing.
Self-care through a touch of hedonism
Finally, self-care isn’t all about restrictions and limitations. Of course, we should all learn to introduce balance into our lives, not just our diets. The sheer fact that a little can go a long way in enhancing your wellbeing means that your decision to enjoy the occasional sweet delicacy doesn’t have to be a burden on your self-care.
On the contrary, let yourself enjoy life and its many gifts. That includes the chocolate, the apple pie, and the mouthwateringly tasty cinnamon rolls on a cool autumn night. As long as you stick to your health needs and plan with your wellness in mind, a bit of sugar can only do you good.
Most of the items you purchase in the local supermarket contain some sort of sugar. It exists in the tomato sauces you find on the shelves, in breakfast cereal, and of course, in fresh fruits as well as dried varieties. Too much of a good thing applies to sugar consumption, but when you find your balance, you can enjoy the occasional treat without the guilt, and still stay on track with your wellness goals and self-care. In fact, having a bit of a sweet tooth is just another opportunity for healthy indulgence, when you understand your body and mind well enough to practice moderation.