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Why Do We Love Comfort Food?

We all crave comfort food once in a while, and giving in to those cravings isn’t always a bad thing, as long as we don’t do it for every meal or snack that we need.

Why is this? It’s because, as tasty as comfort food is, it is usually food that has a high fat or sugar content and is essentially bad for you when eaten in great quantities.

Examples include cake, stew, some pasta dishes, shepherd’s pie, biscuits and gravy, fried foods, and pie. 

Despite the fact that we shouldn’t have too much of it in our everyday diet, we do love comfort food, and there are several reasons for this.

Read on to find out what some of them are; it’s a fascinating phenomenon. 

Image from Pixabay

It Makes You Feel Good 

The most obvious reason why we love comfort food is that it makes us feel good.

If you’re feeling down for some reason, for example, enjoying some good old comfort food for dinner is always going to be not only appreciated, but it will make you feel much happier too, even if it’s only for a short while. 

The reason that this happens, the reason why we feel good when we’re eating comfort food, is that the dishes are often high in salt, sugar, salt, or all of these things.

When eating this combination, the reward system in the brain is activated, and whether you’ve made pralines and ice cream from scratch or you’ve ordered in a pizza to enjoy, you will notice the difference, and so will your brain; you’ll immediately fall into a good mood. 

It Makes Us Nostalgic 

Looking to the future, reaching for goals, pushing forward in life… these are all important things, and looking to the past is often frowned upon.

However, being able to enjoy memories of days gone by is not a bad thing at all as long as those memories don’t hold you back.

Living in the past is bad for you, visiting from time to time is a great idea. 

What has this got to do with comfort food?

When you eat comfort food that is associated with your childhood in some way, perhaps because a now-deceased relative used to make it for you, or it reminds you of family gatherings that don’t take place anymore, or you first tried the dish on a vacation that you still remember well to this day, for example, you will feel safe and secure because of the memories it triggers.

Your stress levels will reduce. In essence, you’ll feel much more positive overall. 

It’s Associated With Special Occasions 

When we celebrate special occasions, perhaps a birthday or Christmas, for example, the usual rules of everyday living are paused somewhat; or at least some of them are.

The rules around healthy eating are fairly strict ones, and if you want to be healthy, you should follow them, eating a set number of calories, staying away from certain foods, and so on. 

Special occasions are different, and these rules are often slackened a little. We can eat comfort food without the guilt that might be associated with it and then go back to a normal, healthy diet afterward.