You must have heard of the phrase ‘comfort food.’ Some people use it to convey how they prefer a certain food dish over the other to elevate their mood. Although the expression is well-known, what exactly qualifies as comfort food? Keep reading to learn all about comfort food and comfort cooking.
What is Comfort Food?
The phrase comfort food was coined in the 1960s or so. It became more popular in the late 70s as news outlets started advertising recipes for holiday food under the heading of comfort food.
Comfort food differs for different people. Some people like spicy food, while others prefer sweets. The one thing which remains the same for everyone is that it is the food that gives them comfort. The usual go-to comfort food for ranges from French fries, chocolate, and ice cream, to food that is high in carbs and sugar content. Even healthy food can be comfort food for some people.
The same region of the brain that regulates moods and emotions is directly impacted by fatty acid emulsion, according to studies. This explains why comfort food is so soothing and how it genuinely influences your mood. While the phrase may not have been around for a very long time, we have all had a pleasant feeling after eating a certain type of food.
Reason Behind the Comforting Nature of Food
Food with a high concentration of fatty acids, carbohydrates, and sugar affects our nervous system in a positive way by stimulating the reward center in the brain. That is why eating certain food gives you an instant comforting and uplifting feeling.
Research shows that certain part of the brain, such as the hippocampus, which is responsible for the regulation of the mood of an individual, is activated when one craves food. You may not have full control over your food craving, but a balanced diet can help you in avoiding any discomfort in the future.
Types of Comforts
It is normal for humans to crave food on a daily basis. Over 90% of people experience them, so it is not something to be embarrassed about. These cravings are typically meant to fulfill the requirement of two types of comfort:
As mentioned before, eating your comfort food stimulates certain parts of the brain. This is done by the release of neurotransmitters. One such neurotransmitter is known as dopamine which acts as a feel-good hormone in the body and uplifts the mood of an individual. It is believed that is why craving comfort food is more common when one is feeling upset.
Sometimes the comfort food that you crave is not to fill your stomach but something as emotional comfort. This is true for those who seek out food they had in their childhood or something their loved one used to make for them. The nostalgic food made by a family member brings back memories of a pleasant time.
Consider your favorite comfort foods; they bring back pleasant memories or feelings for you. Comfort foods need not necessarily be viewed negatively. If it's something that gives you joy, everything is okay if done in moderation.
Satisfying the Cravings
It is okay to give in to your cravings occasionally but do it in moderation. Avoid binging your comfort food to relieve stress, as it can develop into a bad habit.
Importance of Balanced Diet
It is important to maintain a balanced diet despite giving in to your craving for comfort food occasionally. People frequently experience cravings as a result of nutritional deficiencies in their regular diets. You may even see a decrease in your craving with a strict balanced diet.
Comfort food can be enjoyed in moderation, but it is better to find other coping mechanisms to relieve stress. Such as going for a walk, exercising meditation, or meeting up with an old friend, whatever is convenient for you. It is good to take a step back from your mundane daily routine and do something spontaneous. Make sure to not only rely on comfort but make time for yourself to indulge in other interests. Simply making sure you have enough alone time will help you manage your stress, and you could even notice a decrease in your desire for comfort food.
Comfort cooking means making food that gives you a good feeling after you eat it. Sometimes it is a homecooked meal or a snack that relieves the stress after a long day. It is completely normal to crave such food, and you are not the only one who does that.
Comfort food elevates mood by stimulating certain parts of the brain. It is completely fine to give in to your craving if it is done in moderation. For obvious reasons, comfort foods are amazing because they have the power to bring you joy, so never feel bad or guilty about indulging occasionally!