6 Best Comfort Foods to Eat When You’re Upset
Mac and Cheese
A bowl of pasta can really do the body good. Nutritionist Laura Cipullo considers it one of those endorphin-inducing foods that we love to love.
“Pasta is a well-known carbohydrate,” she says. “Carbohydrates are often thought of as comfort foods because they make us feel good. Carbs actually help to increase the availability of the neurotransmitter known as serotonin. Low levels of serotonin are associated with depression.”
More than just a yummy frozen treat, ice cream might the most delicious endorphin-inducing food there is. As Cipullo points out, “Ice cream is high in sugar and fat. It is deliciously palatable. High carb/high fat dishes can signal our brain to release the neurotransmitter dopamine, which aids in our ability to experience pleasure.” The science of why ice cream makes us feel so great is just the cherry on top of this delicious dessert.
Who can ever resist chocolate? It’s just one of those treats we can never really get enough of, but nutritionist Deborah Enos says that “consuming chocolate will help your body to release endorphins. This is one of the reasons that people associate chocolate as a comfort food.” Cipullo says that the sweet indulgence “also contains caffeine which gives us a boost of energy and likely affects our mood.” But, she adds, “remember too much chocolate or too much of any food can also make us feel ‘hung over’ or lethargic.”
These sweet fruits taste good, but strawberries also are jam-packed with vitamin C, which helps in the production of endorphins. Like bananas, strawberries’ potassium aids in the generation of nerve impulses, while the red color caused by a flavonoid can lift our mood. Flavonoids are also powerful antioxidants, assisting in the removal of harmful toxins from the body. So packing a few more juicy strawberries for your next picnic might not be a bad idea.
Believe it or not, that spicy taste of your salsa, wasabi, or other spicy foods, is not a taste but actually a feeling of pain. Great, so that sriracha is actually causing us pain? But that pain is offset by our body’s natural reaction, which is to release endorphins, the messengers of well-being. Maybe it’s those good feelings that attract so many people to the fire brought on by spicy foods.
Though high in calories, nuts are not only a source of good old unsaturated fat, they are rich in proteins, B vitamins, and selenium. Protein helps to keep us full, but it is that selenium that has positive mood-influencing properties. Brazil nuts apparently have the most selenium, so of all the nuts they might be the happiest.
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