The name comfort food suggests that it is something comforting to eat. A feeling of emotions arises when we eat this type of food. The comfort food is rich in calories and carbohydrates.
Brain Function and Comfort Food
The comfort food never disappoints us and always gives us the comfort we associate with it.
How We Define Comfort Food?
Any food item that gives our mind an instant sense of gratification and cheers us up. There are positive reinforcements we feel every time we eat it. There are specific negative reinforcements also related to this eating. These items help us relieve or overcome stresses in our lives. The connection gradually becomes so high that we get used to this type of food to give our mind that instant sense of relief or getaway.
The Reasons Behind the Instant Satisfaction
Here are the reasons or the connection behind taking the comfort food items.
The Cultural Aspect
Every culture or family has some foods as their favorites. However, we only eat these foods at family gatherings. So, when we do not have any get together, we want to eat them to get the same feeling even when we are alone. Therefore, we may have a specific association with what we are eating to the type of feeling we draw from it. A typical example may include a student away from home studying abroad trying to cook something they usually eat with their family members.
A Source of Self-Medication
Scientists have formed a connection between unhealthy food and negative emotions. Sometimes, when people are feeling bad, they tend to overeat unhealthily. It may include eating stuff that is high in sugar and fat content. On the contrary, research suggests people in a good mood tend to eat healthily. They stay away from the junk that can destroy their health. Similarly, sometimes what you eat may also change your mood into good or bad feelings. Therefore, we must be careful what we are eating as it impacts our mood.
The Sudden Sense of Good Feeling
The comforting foods also reward our brains with fat, sugar or salt. Thus, our mind feels the sudden rush of good feelings. A typical example is eating chocolate which strongly impacts our mood. It is this reason why we associate chocolate with an alleviated mood and reduced tension. These foods activate those regions of the brain which are typically associated with taking drugs. Thus, we get used to the feel-good factor in consuming these foods.
Comfort Food on Celebrations
Every culture in the world has their celebrations. Some of these foods are consumed during those celebrations or special occasions. The modern examples of occasions for celebratory foods include Thanksgiving and birthday. Our brain associates the mood of the party with these foods that we consume on these events. So we eat them to get in that feel.