Ever wonder why some people tend to reach for comfort foods such as chocolate, ice cream, or chips whenever they're feeling sad? According to new research, these type of foods actually helps in boosting our moods.
For the study, researchers used MRI scans to chart the areas of the brain that lit up when 12 healthy non-obese individuals experienced sadness. Participants listened to sad or neutral music while viewing corresponding images of sad or neutral faces. They were asked to rate fullness, hunger, and mood before the MRI scan and three times during the brain scan.
During the test, participants received an infusion of fatty acid or saline delivered via a feeding tube, but were unaware of which infusion they received. The researchers found that those who got the fatty acid blast reported feeling about half as sad as those who received the saline infusion.
Not surprisingly, many comfort foods tend to have a substantial amount of fatty acids. The researchers concluded that, "These findings increase our understanding of the interplays among
emotions, hunger, food intake and meal-induced sensations in general
which may have important implications for a wide range of disorders
including obesity, eating disorders, and depression."