The power of comfort food

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When you think about comfort food,what comes to mind? Creamy mac and cheese, buttery mashed potatoes, spicy chip and dip, syrupy pancakes, chocolate brownies or an ice-cream? 

Whatever your choice of food, it’s bound to be totally delectable and send you to heaven in an instant! 

The reason? Comfort food transports you back to the happy days of your childhood; when family meals and yummy snacks symbolised warmth, love and a sense of belonging. Those food memories are so powerful, that even a small portion of your favourite food can help make a horrible day far more bearable. No wonder they call it comfort food!

There’s also a biological explanation for feel-good food: studies have shown that foods high in sugar, fats and carbs trigger the release of your body’s “happy hormones”: serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin and endorphins. That’s why eating a chocolate when you’re stressed, really does make you feel better.

The only problem with comfort food is that it tends to be loaded with kilojoules; not great if you’re watching your waistline. It’s important, though, to realise, that you don’t need to deprive yourself altogether. Food is more than just fuel; it also nourishes the soul and is an integral part of our lives.

Treat yourself moderately
As long as you follow a healthy balanced diet most of the time and exercise regularly, an occasional treat won’t kill you. 

In fact, it might just make you a happier person in the long run. Just remember to stick to small portions; don’t devour the whole tub of ice-cream at once!

So, next time you’re having a horrible day and feel the need to go back to your “happy place”, have a snack-sized portion of your soul food. Sit down, close your eyes; savour the taste and texture without guilt; and enjoy all the healing and comfort it brings you.

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