Mashed Potatoes, Meatloaf, Macaroni and Cheese, Chicken Soup, Chocolate Ice Cream… although these food may not be good for your health, they have now been scientifically proven to comfort your soul in times of loneliness according to a new study published by Association of Psychological Science.
University of Buffalo researchers Jordan Troisi and Shira Gabriel had participants either write about a fight they had with someone close to them, invoking feelings of loneliness, or an emotionally neutral experience. After completing the first writing assignment, participants in each group were then asked to write about an experience of eating comfort food or eating new food. Finally, participants filled out a questionnaire measuring their level of loneliness.
Troisi and Gabriel found that, as expected, writing about a fight with someone close made people feel lonely. Writing about comfort food, however, rescued people who felt secure in their relationship from loneliness.
“We have found that comfort foods are foods which are consistently associated with those close to us,” says Troisi. “Thinking about or consuming these foods later then serves as a reminder of those close others.”
In fact, many people wrote about the experience of eating food with family and friends when writing about comfort food. In another fascinating experiment, Troisi found that eating chicken soup in the lab made participants think more about their relationships, but only if they considered chicken soup to be comfort food.
“Throughout everyone’s daily lives they experience stress, often associated with our connections with others,” Troisi says. “Comfort food can serve as a ready-made, easy resource for remedying a sense of loneliness. Keeping in mind this new research, it seems humans can find a number of ways to feel like we’re connected with others.”
So what’s your comfort food? Does it remind you of your friends and family?
Article image via nutrisystem.