Whether you’ve been dumped or had another fight with your boss at work, nothing makes you feel better than comfort food (and maybe some wine). For decades, scientists have done their best to find clear differences between foods that affect your brain chemistry and foods that make you feel better.
Foods that belong to the last group are known as comfort foods. While there are foods that make us happy by affecting our physiology (for example, chocolate can produce phenylethylamine, also known as the love drug that is essential to help you fall in love), comfort foods make us happy on a psychological level (and also on a physical level if that circumference around our waist is an indication).
It’s easy to see why comfort foods are something we can’t do without in our lives. On the one hand, they are reminders of happier times, particularly from our childhood. When we eat cupcakes, for example, they remind us of happy family occasions in the past or the food itself is a tangible reminder of our youth, so we remember what it felt like to be carefree.
Comfort foods can also be associated with a specific loved one: For example, if you ate mac and cheese with your father when you were young and considered it the best time to bond with him, chances are you always crave a bowl of macaroni and cheese whenever feel the need to be close to someone who is far away or who has left. These various triggers make comfort foods specific to people because we all have different memories.
Among other things, comfort foods also help us bond with friends and family because of shared memories. You know what they say about how food tastes better when you love the company you share it with.
Studies done on how comfort foods also show that they affect both men and women differently. Women tended to go for sweet and sugary foods like ice cream, while men tended to go for salty foods like steak and potatoes. The study also showed that men tend to view comfort foods as a reward, while women tend to feel guilty after enjoying their favorites.
If any of you saw Ratatouille, you will remember that scene where the food critic took a bite of the ratatouille that was served to him and immediately triggered a long-forgotten memory of how his mother served him the same dish when he made it. a bad day at school and how he felt better after just one bite. As for women, this guilt they feel can be good because the regular intake of comfort foods in response to stress, which women tend to do often, can be unhealthy, so guilt basically prevents them from re-indulging. Binge.
Speaking of comfort foods, what exactly do people love to drink when feeling depressed or desperate because life can be too hard? Pizza for one is at the top of almost everyone’s list, especially one in which the dough was allowed to sit for two days and spread with a bottle of wine before dipping it into a special homemade sauce. Next on the list is mac and cheese, which have become so versatile that you can get all kinds of them and still feel like you’ve been wrapped in a warm blanket for the winter. In the candy department, there are ice creams (especially chocolate and vanilla sprinkled with mint chips) and chocolate cake.
And finally, there are also your burritos and southern fried chicken and mashed potatoes. But since most people can’t eat enough pasta, you can also include spaghetti with red sauce, chicken pot pie, and puddings on this list. Basically anything that contains carbohydrates and fat is high on the list because carbohydrates increase serotonin and fat levels, which is actually why you feel “comforted.”