Why do we crave comfort food?

Young Asian woman tasting a dish of pasta she prepared while serving food on the table at home.

Swathes of people turn to comfort foods when they’re feeling down, stressed or just need a little pick-me-up. Comfort foods are often associated with carefree memories and can, to some extent, provide a sense of warmth and reassurance. But why do we crave these foods time and time again? And, despite the name, do they actually comfort us?

Charles Spence (opens in new tab), an experimental psychologist at the University of Oxford, thinks people associate comfort foods with positive and happy memories, both consciously and subconsciously. 

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