Food and Your Mood

Research has shown that baking and cooking can be therapeutic and aid in reducing stress and improving our mood.

hands slicing applesA review of literature examining inpatient and community-based cooking interventions found positive influences on socialization, self-esteem, quality of life, and other psychosocial outcomes.

The reason baking and cooking can be beneficial and act as a stress reliever is that it requires your attention and focus and is a mindful activity (no burning food or mixing up baking powder for baking soda!). Being in the kitchen and preparing a dish or baking cookies gives a sense of accomplishment and control and repetitive tasks chopping or using a hand mixer can be almost a meditative practice that calms the mind for some people.

The Brain-Gut Connection:

Did you know that your brain has a direct connection with your gut? Stress signals the brain to go into flight-or-flight mode which decreases blood flow to gut. Overtime, chronic stress can weaken intestinal lining making you more susceptible to illness, exhaustion, and nutrition deficiencies. Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and protein can help keep our gut healthy and in turn help fight away stress, depression, and anxiety.

Need some help getting comfortable in the kitchen?

Be sure to check out Johnson County K-State Research and Extension cooking classes and other educational classes at

There is also a help hotline to answer all your food, food safety, and nutrition questions!

Email or call us at 913-715-7000.

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