Tag Archives: comfort foods

How to Boost Your Mood Through Food – AHA

You’ve had a bad breakup, a rotten day at work or you’re just too exhausted to cook. You’re craving comfort, something to soothe your mood. So, you reach for … a salad?

Probably not. But if it’s happiness you want, those leafy greens are a far better choice than a tub of ice cream or a bowl of mac and cheese, according to the American Heart Association News (AHA)

“You might have an initial nice feeling, but comfort foods are ultimately discomfort for the brain,” said Dr. Uma Naidoo, a nutritional psychiatrist, chef and director of nutritional and metabolic psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

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Eating ice cream and high-carb foods feels good because it sends tryptophan to the brain, said Naidoo, who wrote a book published in 2020 that explored the connections between food, mood and the brain. Tryptophan is an amino acid that helps the body make serotonin, a mood-boosting hormone. But that good feeling can become addictive, causing the body to crave foods that will ultimately lower mood as it also raises blood sugar. Foods high in sugar, refined flour or saturated fats activate inflammation, which is strongly linked to depression.

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Comfort food leads to more weight gain during stress

Eat less; move more; live longer is the many-times repeated mantra of this blog. Now, it seems that eating less is particularly relevant when we experience stress.

Australian researchers have discovered a new molecular pathway in the brain that triggers more weight gain in times of stress.

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It’s no secret that overindulging on high-calorie foods can be detrimental to health, but it turns out that under stress, watching what you eat may be even more important. Continue reading

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Filed under comfort foods, dealing with stress, stress

Is it Bad to Eat Comfort Foods?

What are comfort foods? Wikipedia says, “Comfort food is food prepared traditionally, that may have a nostalgic or sentimental appeal, or simply provide an easy-to-eat, easy-to-digest meal rich in calories, nutrients, or both. Comfort foods may be foods that have a nostalgic element either to an individual or a specific culture.”

Comfort food is food that makes you feel good, for whatever reason. Clearly, one person’s comfort food is another one’s poison. It’s an emotional choice. I think it’s likely that junk foods will rate high on the comfort food list of most folks.

For me comfort foods include mac and cheese, burgers, fries and pizza. You can add your own to the list. But can we eat them if we want to control our weight?

This is a slice of Sbarro cheese pizza

I would like to single one comfort food out for this discussion. My favorite comfort food is pizza. Growing up, to go out for pizza was a special treat in a world far less affluent than now and my family was on the lower end of the economic curve. So, going out for pizza was truly a celebration type experience. The family was all together and were ‘out’ in a restaurant and someone brought food to our table. Also, I don’t know how much of this subjective, but I consider pizza to be absolutely delicious. Back when I had my weight problem, I ate pizza every week and lots of it at each sitting. It was a big contributor to my girth.
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Filed under calories, comfort foods, Weight