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Day: January 3, 2018

The Love of Comfort Food

Everyone has their favorite comfort food that appeals to them. Basically, these foods are full of energy, sweet and with lots of fat. Foods like ice cream, chocolate and French fries have the ability to make you feel better as well as give distractive pleasure.

Feel good foods
girl eating chocolate

When you consume food that is high in salt, sugar and fat, your brain reward system gets activated. For instance, chocolate has an effect on the mood and they can make you feel quite pleasant and happy. Foods that are considered to be highly palatable have a similarity with addictive drugs in that they activate similar brain areas. A study conducted on a group of people suffering from obesity indicated that the areas of the brain that are linked with drug rewards were also activated by highly palatable foods.

Comfort food role in self-medication

Over the years, a connection has been identified that connects unhealthy foods with negative emotions. This phenomenon is known as emotional eating. When people are in a bad mood, they are attracted to unhealthy foods which act as a coping mechanism. On the flipside, when people are experiencing good moods, they are likely to prefer healthy foods. However, a study indicated that comfort foods facilitated the relief from bad moods but other types of foods also achieved this effect. It’s important to note that consumption of comfort foods can contribute to increased bad moods because of the crash that happens after you have experienced a very high mood. This can take about two days to disappear.

Need to belong to a particular group

Normally, people tend to relate some foods with family members as well as family gatherings. As such, it’s normal for people to turn to these foods whenever they are feeling lonely and they want to bring on the sense of security. Here, the entire power of the comfort food is in the pleasant and secure social associations they call to mind.  To illustrate, if you are attending college for your first time and you feel lonely, certain foods can remind you of the relationships that you’ve left back home. As a result, individuals with good relationships at home have a higher tendency to reach out to the comforting foods.

Nostalgic eating
fried chicken

Research has shown that there is a direct relationship between scents and associated emotional memories. The aroma of specific types of foods can lead to vivid memories we have experienced. This is simply because your past experiences can condition you to like certain foods. For example, deep-fried foods can make you remember some pleasant childhood memories making get an improved mood.

Special occasions

People tend to associate with special moments but they are also linked with unhealthy foods. In most cases, the unhealthy foods are reminders of birthdays, weddings, and thanksgivings. From the surface, the most appropriate choice is to indulge in the foods but when you consider the long-term health effects, eating more healthy food is the right call. But in most cases, people partake in this habit by simply telling themselves that they will start over tomorrow and eat healthy foods.