Comfort foods are called comfort foods for a reason. During tough times, we often turn towards fatty, sugary, processed food to help us through our negative feelings. Studies have shown that in moments of stress, our bodies release high levels of the hormone cortisol, which prepares our bodies for the fight or flight response. However, our bodies can counteract cortisol by eating sugar. When we eat sugar, our bodies release a different hormone called serotonin, which is calming and relaxing. This is why we crave junk food during periods of sadness, anger, or loneliness.
Although sugar and fast food may be helpful in fighting off negative feelings at first, these positive effects are short-lived at best. In the long term, an unhealthy diet is linked to depression, anxiety, and a number of other mental health issues which will actually prolong negative feelings. Not to mention all the other damage you can cause to your body with a poor diet, such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.
That is what the doctors say, here is what I say:
Personally, what I know is good for me and what I actually do
That is why I propose a middle ground!
EAT THAT PIZZA, but make it at home with lots of veggies. EAT A BURGER, but order a black bean burger on a whole wheat bun. EAT ALL THE COOKIES, but opt for oatmeal with dark chocolate.
That way, you can have your (vegan) cake, and eat it (in moderation) too!
Need some more food inspiration? Check out these recipes for healthy comfort foods below!
What are you favorite healthy comfort food recipes? Let us know in the comments!