The new comfort foods are chemically ‘feel-good’ foods

Your comfort food may or may not be someone else’s comfort food, but it’s amazing how many people will tell you theirs is macaroni and cheese, made just like their mom made, or chicken soup when they’re sick, or hot cocoa on a chilly day.

Coined back in 1977, the phrase ‘comfort food’ actually has at least four different meanings: It can be a guilty pleasure or indulgence, be associated with pleasant memories, bring physical comfort, or serve as a quick and easy way to eat something good.

Interestingly, men are more likely to choose comfort food when they’re already feeling great, while women turn to it when they need solace. Unfortunately, only 33 percent of women choose healthy foods when they’re seeking comfort.

So it comes as very good news that some of the healthiest foods are also the best ‘feel-good’ foods. According to a study of 1,700 substances, presented at the 244th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society, berries such as raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and strawberries will lift your mood. So will chocolate, tea, fish and omega 3-rich foods.

And this is fascinating: These foods’ mood-enhancing benefits come from their flavor. Chemically speaking, the natural ingredients responsible for the flavor of these foods resemble a mood-stabilizing drug called valproic acid.

So wrap your brain around this: Yummy berries are not only healthy for your body, you may be smiling even brighter after you eat them.

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