Why are comfort foods so comforting?

Posted on December 13, 2017 by Guest Writer

It’s a great British truth that a cup of tea helps solve just about anything! The same can also be said for a good bowl-full of comfort food just when we need it…

What is comfort food?

Essentially, its delicious goodness on your plate – anything from comforting casseroles, packed with warmth and flavour to bangers and dollops of mash, along with ice cream and sticky toffee pudding. Comfort food means different things to different people but it often takes us back to childhood days of mother’s or grand-mother’s home-cooked dishes – even thinking about them can sometimes be enough to cheer us up.


Comfort foods and mood

As the weather gets chillier, you might well be yearning for home-cooked comforts that warm you up and lift your mood. However, choose carefully as some comfort foods contain food “stressors” like caffeine, sugar, alcohol and chocolate which can actually negatively affect your mood if you indulge too often.

But what about healthy comfort foods? You’ll be glad to know that there are many healthy options which can bring just as much contentment to your plate: protein-packed mixed-bean chilli or ripe, mineral-rich avocado with a dash of tabasco sauce squished onto rye bread.


Looking for recipe ideas?

Nigella Lawson and Jamie Oliver are quick to demonstrate countless comfort food recipes.
Nigella’s uplifting weekend menu includes: scallops and Thai scented pea puree; Linguini a la Genovese (with a special pesto sauce, ideal for vegetarians); meat loaf; baked potatoes with blue cheese dressing; and strawberry and almond crumble. You can watch Nigela in action on her Kitchen Comforts YouTube video.

Jamie is no stranger to comfort food either; his website offers some tasty options, from his winter hotpots, spicy chilli and special steak and onion sandwiches to Hummingbird cake and double choc chip cookies..

BBC Good Food helpfully categorises its comfort food recipes into healthy; easy; more effort; and vegetarian recipes.