How to Teach Your Brain to Prefer Healthy Food
Did you know that you can change the kind of food you prefer, rewiring your brain to actually crave healthier foods, without much effort? A new study published in Nutrition&Diabetes indicates that you can get your brain to change its cravings simply by exposing yourself to healthy foods, repeatedly.
The research concluded that while the brain can be trained to become more receptive to junk food and start to crave it, the same processes can be used for the reversed effect. You can gradually train your brain to start enjoying healthy food more and even start craving it after a while, reducing your appetite for unhealthy food completely. This way, you could enjoy a diet based on lower calorie foods, but richer in precious nutrients, without feeling that you're making a huge effort and actually enjoying it.
In the study, the researchers used MRI machines to monitor the brain activity and any changed in it, as the 8 out of the total 13 participants were started on a special diet plan (with the rest of them being used as the control group). At the beginning of the study, the brain circuitry of each participant was thoroughly mapped, and another session of mapping followed after a period of six months of being on the special diet. The scans which were taken after the six months indicated significant changes in the brain circuits of those that were given the diet plan.
These changes were especially concentrated around the addiction and the reward centers of the brain. Until now, the scientific community only had proof that eating sugar can change the brain circuitry in a way that makes the subject crave even more sweet foods. This new study was planned as a way to test if maybe the reverse was possible: if exposing people to healthy foods like fresh fruit and vegetables can make those people start to crave them instead of the low-quality food they were used to before.
The results of the study are spectacular: the scientists have proved that the brain physically changes in favor of healthy foods, if given a chance. Still, it should be noted that this rewiring does not come in an instant and that immediate results should not be expected. The study's timeline spanned over six months, so if you want to change the way your brain feels about healthy foods, you should give it time. The change can only occur with repeated and multiple exposures, so you must use your will to follow this diet before your brain gets used to it.