Music, Food, & the Mind Body Connection
Is There a Mind Body Connection Between Food & Music?
The Pleasure of Eating & the Pleasure of Music
On their own, both music and food offer us ways to indulge in life and express ourselves. Both music and food bring pleasure to our mind, body, and spirit, creating a sense of connection and harmony with the physical world. Food engages not just our sense of taste, but our senses of smell and touch. The look of food and its aroma play a huge factor in determining whether we will enjoy what we are eating. We can create a symphony of expression through combining our senses of taste, smell, and touch with food and our sense of sound with music. Is it possible that the combination of these indulgences in our senses have a direct impact on each other? Can the mind body connection be triggered through fusing music and food?
Imagine that you are dining out on a date. If the restaurant you chose was blasting an unpleasant cacophony of music, would you enjoy your food? Probably not. For example, romantic restaurants are aware there is a level of intimacy they must convey throughout their customer’s dining experience. That is why most of these restaurants will have dim lighting and music that revolves around love. Live music will focus on the symphony of sounds to enhance the dining experience without overpowering the beauty of the food.
Now imagine you are looking for a night of fun with friends or family. Would you prefer the same intimate music? Depending on the type of experience people are looking for when they dine out, different types of music are appropriate for different settings. Live music that fits this proper setting will connect to you on an emotional level, and enhance your dining experience.
Music can impact our nutrition in more ways than one. Ultimately, music impacts how we feel and consume food and thus changes the way we approach a meal. Music has the power to make our experience unforgettable for better, or for worse. Since music has a strong connection to our feelings and emotions, it changes the type of energy we surround ourselves with when we eat as well.
Increased Food Intake
Think about the last time you went out to eat and enjoyed listening to live music with your meal. Did you eat more than usual? The presence of music triggers a variety of psychological responses that can act as distraction in the brain. Music can distract our brains from realizing our level of fullness, and cause people to intake more food.
Another way music impacts our approach to food is centered around rhythm. Studies have shown we chew and swallow to the rhythm of the music we are listening to. People eat faster when they are exposed to a fast tempo and conversely, slower music makes us eat slower and drink more. Our bodies subconsciously align to the beat of the music and ultimately impact how we consume our food.
The Mind Body Connection
Music possesses the beautiful gift to trigger a positive response from almost everyone who listens to it. No matter how you are feeling, the right music has the capability to uplift your mood even further. Truly, food and music go hand to hand. Music generates energy, creating a feeling which develops into our perception of the flavor of food. The sound energy produced from the music is absorbed within our atmosphere, changing or intensifying the energy already present. Good meals become fantastic with the proper music, and worse with inadequate audio. That is the reason why there is music at a prosperous restaurant, that is why folks eat more when there’s audio, and that’s the reason we are eager to spend more time at a restaurant.
Studies have also shown that music can affect how healthy we want to eat. To a minimal extent, a quieter dining environment influences people to make healthier choices when it comes to nutrition. Noisier atmospheres subconsciously lead people to make poor eating decisions and feel comfortable in doing so. Music holds the power to connect with our mind and body on a subconscious level, and express itself through our physical and psychological actions.
How Does It All Work?
This phenomenon stems from the fact that noise or music volume directly affects the physiological responses (eg, blood pressure levels and heart rate) and neurochemical changes (eg, stress levels) in our bodies. This process ultimately affects our brain and shifts our relationship with food and nutrition when music is involved.
Overall music has a significant impact on how we view and consume food. From choosing what to eat, to how much food we consume, to how long we enjoy a meal, music has the potential to shift all aspects of our relationship with nutrition. Just like nutrition, music can strengthen our mind-body connection.
Whether we are dining out or cooking food at home, music can improve our dining experience no matter what setting we are in. Our five senses share a deep bond with our mind-body connection. A stronger appreciation for music will create a stronger appreciation for the food we consume. Although the effects can be subtle, connecting our senses can create a powerful influence over our physical and mental health. Take the time to consider what musical environment you want to surround yourself in when you consume your next meal!