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Comfort foods

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Comfort foods are foods which bring back memories of times when we felt safe and warm, when we were near our loved ones, when laughter came easily. Comfort foods trigger memories of home and family and can connect us to our past, bringing back memories of times shared with our loved ones.

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[edit] Why should I be aware of this?

The power of comfort foods is such that, like chocolate cakes and ice creams, they dull the body's response to chronic stress, make us feel better, no matter what problems we face in life. Comfort foods are not eaten only when we are sad and lonely, but also whenever we feel the need. The perfect time to eat comfort food is when we are happy. In other words, anytime is the perfect time for comfort food.

[edit] How does it affect me?

Comfort food is based on the notion that food is supremely evocative. It's not just nutrition, not just calories and protein, but firmly attached to memory. And that memory makes ignore sodium and fat content and sit down to enjoy a meal from the past.

Whatever had comforted you as a child makes a quick, soothing fallback when we are adults. Comfort food makes us feel at home even if we are thousands of miles away from home. We do not eat comfort food for any particular nutritious reason, but rather an emotional, psychological reason

[edit] All about comfort foods

Comfort foods, which have seen a real resurgence in recent years, can be of various types and depends on the person’s taste culture or cuisine. Generally it's the food we have good memories about, the food we think of when we hear the word homemade, and that reminds us of simpler times.

Comfort food is prepared simply and is on most occasions served warm with a gravy thick. It is usually food with high carbohydrate content such as rice, beans or pasta. In Asian countries where rice is a mainstay food source, the comfort food is a mixture of rice and water cooked for many hours until it has a mush-like texture like a porridge. It is usually eaten with vegetables, pork, fish, shrimp or turkey mixed into it like a rice stew. In the U.S. every region has favorite foods but the universal comfort food in the U.S. is macaroni and cheese.

An ideal comfort food should supply a sense of fullness and satisfaction long after it has been consumed. For many people comfort food could mean a quart of premium ice cream or an extra large slab of ribs.

[edit] Benefits of comfort foods

Science explains that comfort food sets off a chemical reaction in the brain; wherein our brain releases certain "feel good" hormones into our bodies in order to compensate for the negative feelings we may be having at that time.

  • It makes us feel safe: There is a sense of security when you are eating comfort food.
  • It makes us happy: Eating food we enjoyed at some earlier time reminds us of those days and makes us happy
  • It makes us feel better: Reminds us of the favorite dish which mother cooked whenever I was not well.
  • It makes us feel loved: We feel important when someone prepares comfort food for us.

[edit] What can I do?

Make comfort food healthy. Enjoy but be mindful and make conscious food decisions rather than grabbing for what is most convenient. Healthy preparation of comfort foods not only gives you comfort and enjoyment but also keeps you in good health and spirits.

[edit] Choose low-fat dairy

Replace whole-milk dairy products with low-fat or nonfat versions to cut saturated fat from your diet. A low-fat version of homemade vanilla ice cream cuts some of the egg yolks and uses low-fat milk along with fat-free sweetened condensed milk in place of heavy cream to cut the fat and calories while adding sweetness and a creamy texture.

[edit] Use smart fats

Go for unsaturated fats such as olive oil over saturated fats such as butter. But as all fats are full of calories, it is advised to use them to moderation.

[edit] Go unrefined

Go for over refined whole grains, like brown rice and bulgur which have their bran intact and thus have more fiber, B vitamins, magnesium, zinc and other nutrients.

[edit] Eat more fruits and vegetables

Between 5 and 13 servings of fruits and ¬vegetables a day is recommended. Fruits of different colors give a range of antioxidants and vitamins.

[edit] Eat less meat

Though meat is a great source of protein but it’s also a big source of saturated fat in many people’s diets. So eat small amounts of lean meat, fish and poultry.

[edit] Eat reasonable portions

Larger the portions more the calories. One of the easiest ways to manage calorie intake is to watch your portion size.

[edit] Control intake of sweeteners

Sugars of any kind, whether corn syrup, white sugar, brown sugar, honey or maple syrup, add significant calories without any nutritive value.

[edit] Keep an eye on sodium

Whether you have high blood pressure or not, it’s wise to watch your sodium intake.

[edit] CopperBytes

  • America's beloved comfort foods are potato chips, ice cream, cookies, and candy. Most Forty comfort foods fall into the category of "homemade and natural," such as soup, main dishes, and vegetables.
  • It was found in a survey that men and women both preferred ice cream as their favorite comfort food, but while women named chocolate and cookies as their second and third-favorite choices, and men named soup and pizza or pasta.
  • When people are sad they tend to eat more of less-healthy comfort foods than when they feel happy [1]

[edit] References:

  • Comfort Foods 101
  • What are Comfort Foods?
  • Cut the calories out of comfort food

[edit] Source

  1. Food-mood Connection