The Lövheim Cube of Emotion

    Our mind and body are very connected one to each other and it seems that emotions are not an exception from this rule. Because of this, in 2012 a dude called Hugo Lövheim proposed a theory based on three brain chemicals: serotonin (the happiness hormone), dopamine (the reward hormone) and noradrenaline (also called norepinephrine which is the staying-focused hormone).

   According to this dude, emotions like shame, distress, fear, anger, contempt, surprise, joy and excitement are created by a combination of those brain chemicals, as can be seen below.

Basic emotion Serotonin Dopamine Noradrenaline
Shame/humiliation Low Low Low
Distress/anguish Low Low High
Fear/terror Low High Low
Anger/rage Low High High
Contempt/disgust High Low Low
Surprise/startle High Low High
Enjoyment/joy High High Low
Interest/excitement High High High

   This goes from our mind to our body when we encounter thoughts and situations, but can it be the other way around? Can we get the emotion if we mess with the chemicals? I guess so because that’s what drugs are based on. This can be done with food too. Apparently, eggs, cheese, pineapples, tofu, salmon, nuts (and seeds) and turkey are some foods that help increasing the serotonin level (source healthline). We can increase our dopamine levels by eating “protein stuff” and sweets, even though sugar can be very addictive.

   Have you ever noticed that when eating your favorite food, your mood slightly increases? Only the anticipation of that dish does the job because our brain already starts releasing the chemicals since we’re conditioned like Pavlov’s dogs.

   Ok, we now know that food can make us happy, but let’s not abuse this of we want a healthy body. What food increases your mood?

38 thoughts on “The Lövheim Cube of Emotion

  1. Thai and Japanese food are my favourite foods to indulge in, but also Indian. I do love many cuisines, from Southern food and Irish, but those are common enough for me. The Asian cuisines mentioned are more like special treats!

  2. I had major problems with food when I was younger….binge eating mainly. It was like a physical addiction to the dopamine now I go out of my way to avoid foods that trigger happy hormones. I stick to boring, bland food 😕

    1. I see your point. Well, it works fine if we manage to associate that dopamine with the goals, but it’s not an easy job.

      1. It’s acidic, dehydrating, prevents me from sleeping if I drink it at the wrong time, addictive, gives me headaches if I drink too much or not enough, it’s diuretic therefore nutrition is lost, it sometimes makes me shaky, and sometimes my heart pounds.

  3. Well, in my case food has very little, if anything, to do with my thought process… the lone possible exception would be Cajun chili… I just consume what food is required to keep the ole engine going while I am on my adventures… 🙂

    “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming; “Wow! What a ride!” Hunter S. Thompson

      1. I’m supposed to avoid it altogether. So, I eat kelp noodles and spaghetti squash as substitutes. I also want to get a spiralizer to make zoodles; which is zucchini made into noodles. 😊

  4. I love carbs, and I love pretty much any Asian cuisine. Sushi, Chinese Food, Indian meals, Middle Eastern – it’s all good. I don’t like too much protein, it makes me feel sluggish.

Leave a Reply