5 Ways Cooking Benefits Your Mental State
We have all heard the saying that “Cooking is good for the soul” and according to Mental health experts cooking can help to relieve depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and other conditions. Cooking healthy foods not only benefits our bodies, but it can also benefit our minds as well.
Cooking is joining the various forms of meditation, yoga,and other activities to help people relax in a busy world. One of the chef’s behind promoting cooking as a way to benefit mental health is Chef Zipora Einav. She is an accomplished chef who has cooked for celebrities including the following: Bob Hope, Pierce Brosnan, and Scarlett Johansson. She is also the author of the cookbook – Recipe for a Delicious Life.
Chef Zipora says, “Cooking at its core is comprehensive meditation with the assurance of a good, healthy meal as the reward. Cooking can lift you to a meditative place you often don’t get in the outside world. It starts with the environment you create in your kitchen. Mine is filled with music. Combining cooking with music provides the optimal environment to experience the many benefits of meditation.However you cook, do it with real peace and genuine happiness for yourself in mind. You’re giving to others; now give some of this to yourself.”
I also find a great escape from the pressures of every day life while cooking and often find it an amazing way to deal with the daily struggles of living with Bipolar Disorder. From baking brownies to preparing a multi-course meal for my family and friends, cooking allows me to show my love while escaping the pressures of the world.
To highlight how cooking benefits mental health, Chef Zipora is sharing five ways cooking can help people (of all ages) better their mental health for a full life.
Cooking Benefits for Mental Health
- Relieves stress. Cooking can clear the head and relax the body. Family therapist Lisa Bahar toldPsychology Today that a mindfulness on the moment – kitchen tasks such as chopping and stirring – makes the act of cooking meditative. “You are present in the task, doing something physical, and not distracted by the stresses of the day,” Zipora says. “It’s a nourishing, centering act that gets you to slow down.”
- Gives joy. It’s easy to dismiss cooking as just another household chore, but you may derive joy from cooking that you don’t get from mundane tasks. “Cooking is an innately rewarding experience,” says Zipora. “You can enhance it however you like. Music happens to be the seasoning of my life. Classical puts me in a zone when I’m cooking. When you’re enjoying working in the kitchen and listening to your favorite music, all of a sudden you’re not just cooking, it’s like you’re flying with your feet on the ground. Cooking has all the ingredients of good vibrations.”
- Provides better brain health. The clearest link between cooking and mental health is good nutrition; numerous studies have found compounds like antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins and minerals found naturally in food can help protect your brain. “It’s easier to control the quality of your diet when you prepare much of the food yourself,” Zipora says.
- Makes you more creative. Part of the fun of cooking is thinking outside the box. “Cooking should be considered an art, and with new ingredients, you can explore new areas of cooking and surprise your family with a meal that they will have never seen coming,” Zipora says. “Perfect recipes, come up with new ones, and let your creative juices flow.”
- Boosts self-confidence. “You feel a strong sense of accomplishment when you’ve prepared something satisfying,” Zipora says. “When you’ve prepared a nice meal for several people that confidence will surge, and it can spread into other areas of your life. It will inspire you to try new things.”
“Cooking without a doubt nourishes your psychological well-being,” Zipora says. “At the end of a long work day, it soothes the soul and the mind.”
Next time you are feeling stressed, grab your favorite recipe or even a boxed mix and head into the kitchen for a little relaxation while cooking. Looking for recipe inspiration? Check out our recipe collection HERE!
More About Chef Zipora Einav
Chef Zipora Einav is an accomplished private chef who has cooked for some of Hollywood’s most notable celebrities – Bob Hope, Jack Nicholson, Mariah Carey, Pierce Brosnan, Scarlett Johansson – and for professional athletes, including former National Football League star Donovan McNabb.She is the author of Recipe for a Delicious Life, which includes recipes, a classical music CD titled Music for a Delicious Life, and her anecdotes and adventures while travelling the world as a private chef. She founded her company, Chef Zipora Enterprise – Comfort Food in Harmony with Your Health ™ to improve people’s lives by empowering them to eat well and embrace a healthy lifestyle. The company achieves this through its food, music products, books and edutainment programs.