Comfort Foods – What is it about them?

The warm mouthfeel of sheera, the heady spiciness of a simple aloo sabzi, the creamy, sinful indulgence of biting into a cupcake and the ordinary pleasures of eating dal-chawal-achaar with your hands. There is something about these foods that automatically make everything alright! What is it?

Comfort foods are foods that induce nostalgia, a food that reminds you about something from your childhood. Nothing matches the joy of digging into a sugar-ghee laden paratha, just like your mom used to make when you were a kid! Just like how Hassan put it, in A Hundred Foot Journey ‘food is memories’. Comfort food is more than memories – it is reliving the past.

Have you noticed how comfort foods are usually items that are rich in carbs or high on sugar? Which is why on a bad day, you reach out for that box of cookies or that delicious slice of chocolate cake to feel better. The reason for this is pretty much scientific – the brain registers these foods are reward treats! So when you’re feeling down, a piece (or a bar – we’re not judging!) of chocolate feels so good! Sugary and carb rich foods release quick energy into the blood stream making you feel good instantly.

So the next time you feel like reaching for that bag of fries or a burger, go ahead – its good for your mental health!

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