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6 Best Comfort Foods to Eat When You’re Upset

6 Best Comfort Foods to Eat When You’re Upset

Mac and Cheese

A bowl of pasta can really do the body good. Nutritionist Laura Cipullo considers it one of those endorphin-inducing foods that we love to love.

“Pasta is a well-known carbohydrate,” she says. “Carbohydrates are often thought of as comfort foods because they make us feel good. Carbs actually help to increase the availability of the neurotransmitter known as serotonin. Low levels of serotonin are associated with depression.”

Ice Cream

More than just a yummy frozen treat, ice cream might the most delicious endorphin-inducing food there is. As Cipullo points out, “Ice cream is high in sugar and fat. It is deliciously palatable. High carb/high fat dishes can signal our brain to release the neurotransmitter dopamine, which aids in our ability to experience pleasure.” The science of why ice cream makes us feel so great is just the cherry on top of this delicious dessert.


Who can ever resist chocolate? It’s just one of those treats we can never really get enough of, but nutritionist Deborah Enos says that “consuming chocolate will help your body to release endorphins. This is one of the reasons that people associate chocolate as a comfort food.” Cipullo says that the sweet indulgence “also contains caffeine which gives us a boost of energy and likely affects our mood.” But, she adds, “remember too much chocolate or too much of any food can also make us feel ‘hung over’ or lethargic.”


These sweet fruits taste good, but strawberries also are jam-packed with vitamin C, which helps in the production of endorphins. Like bananas, strawberries’ potassium aids in the generation of nerve impulses, while the red color caused by a flavonoid can lift our mood. Flavonoids are also powerful antioxidants, assisting in the removal of harmful toxins from the body. So packing a few more juicy strawberries for your next picnic might not be a bad idea.

Spicy food

Believe it or not, that spicy taste of your salsa, wasabi, or other spicy foods, is not a taste but actually a feeling of pain. Great, so that sriracha is actually causing us pain? But that pain is offset by our body’s natural reaction, which is to release endorphins, the messengers of well-being. Maybe it’s those good feelings that attract so many people to the fire brought on by spicy foods.


Though high in calories, nuts are not only a source of good old unsaturated fat, they are rich in proteins, B vitamins, and selenium. Protein helps to keep us full, but it is that selenium that has positive mood-influencing properties. Brazil nuts apparently have the most selenium, so of all the nuts they might be the happiest.

5 Foods to Eat When You're Feeling Off

It's no secret that certain foods can help improve your mood (especially when you're hangry), but there are all kinds of foods you can eat to feel better. If you're stressed, tired, bloated, or even if you had one too many cocktails last night, try these suggestions for foods that will have you feeling like yourself again in no time.

Food plays a big role in how you feel. Use the tips below to help yourself feel good again, even if you’re tired, stressed, or queasy. None of these foods are fancy, so they’ll be easy to find at the store whenever you need them. (You probably already have at least a few on hand.)

6 Foods To Eat If You Have An Upset Stomach

If there’s one thing that everyone can agree on, it’s that stomach pains are the worst. Nausea, bloating, diarrhea, gas—whatever gastrointestinal ailments you’re prone to, none of them are fun. Because when you aren’t feeling well in the tummy region, you can’t sleep, you can’t think, and, most importantly, you can’t really eat.

However, there are certain foods that, if you manage to choke ‘em down, will actually help ease those stomach pains. Dr. Lisa Ganjhu, D.O., gastroenterologist and clinical associate professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center, tells SELF that everyone’s gastrointestinal (GI) tracts are different. This means that certain foods will help some more than others, and you’ll have to go through a bit of trial and error to figure out what works best for you. But overall, she says, a good rule of thumb is to avoid foods with lots of fiber (for obvious reasons), and foods with a lot of salt, sugar, or spice, as those can tend to stimulate your GI tract in an offensive way. Opt for one of these six foods instead.

2. Bananas

With their soft and comforting texture, bananas are easy to absorb and digest. Plus, their soluble fiber helps, well, thicken things up, if you&rsquore suffering from diarrhea, says Goldberg. Just avoid 'em if you're feeling nauseous the smell might make you feel worse if you're not typically a banana fan.

Eat up: Goldberg recommends slowly noshing on frozen bananas, since the cooling effect is soothing for your tum. Once you're feeling a little better, try DIY &ldquonice cream&rdquo by frozen banana, dates, and a dash of cinnamon.

6 of the Best Foods for an Upset Stomach

It may surprise you to find out that gastrointestinal ailments&mdashincluding bloating, diarrhea, gas and stomach cramps&mdashoccur up to six times more often in women than in men. Save your stomach the pain by cutting out foods that cause these unpleasant reactions. And, from time-to-time when symptoms do flair up, start reaching for ingredients that are good for the body. From the digestive healing powers of oat bran to the soothing comfort of cinnamon, these foods will give you the relief you want&mdashand need&mdashit most.

Traditionally used for ulcers, upset stomach, heartburn and diarrhea, papaya contains papain, a natural digestive enzyme that helps break up foods that may be irritating the stomach.

It's a significant source of both soluble and insoluble fiber. (Soluble dissolves in water insoluble doesn't.) You need both types for digestive health. Bonus: Oat bran lowers cholesterol.

Not only are they high in insoluble fiber, they're also rich in pectin and other enzymes that help break down and rid the body of irritating food particles. Sensitive stomach? Try them baked, not raw.

Traditionally used to treat both morning sickness and diarrhea, cinnamon is also effective for breaking up gas bubbles. Sprinkle it on savory foods (like chicken) as well as on sweet ones (apple pie).

This herb's a natural antigas remedy, which is one of the reasons you often see it offered at the end of a meal at Indian restaurants. Half a teaspoon of fennel seeds should do the trick.

Exceptionally high in potassium, fiber and stomach-friendly (and heart-healthy) oils, avocados help keep things moving. Try a few thin slices on a sandwich instead of your usual mayo.

10 ways to stop comfort eating when you're angry, bored or stressed

When we’re feeling depressed, angry, bored or stressed, many of us turn to food to give us comfort.

When we’re feeling depressed, angry, bored or stressed, many of us turn to food to give us comfort. But if you’re developing a serious chocolate habit, here’s our WM guide to help you put a brake on eating bad mood-food

YOU’RE at home after a bad day at the office and grab a chocolate biscuit. You’re bored, there’s nothing on the TV, so you eat a packet of crisps. You’re lonely, fed up or a relationship is on the rocks, but you never reach for the bag of salad sitting in the fridge, you have a burger and chips instead.

Most people turn to food to bolster their emotions it’s a great way to dull the ache of a broken heart and often provides a security blanket if you are stressed or worried. But, unfortunately, what we call comfort food is usually loaded with saturated fats and sugary carbohydrates.

Welsh model Imogen Thomas recently revealed how she binged on comfort food after tabloid revelations and it’s not uncommon for women to manage their moods by feasting on a packet of biscuits.

David Brookes, who compiled DVD Stop Comfort Eating Now, says: “We all comfort eat from time to time. Often when we feel stressed, bored or lonely or we just want to cheer ourselves up. Most of us do it without even being aware of it.

“That extra biscuit with a cup of coffee. That naughty bar of chocolate at the supermarket checkout. That temptation to have that extra helping because we’ve enjoyed the first one so much. Most of the time we comfort eat when we’re not really hungry at all.

“Comfort eating is something that is instilled in us from birth. When we were babies we cried and our mothers comforted us with their milk. As we grew older we were given treats for comfort or when we hurt ourselves. We were rewarded with sweets or the occasional ice cream when we were good.

“We were learning the lessons that food could make us feel better. And the early lessons in life always stay with us. But, unfortunately for many of us, these comfort eating lessons often come back later in life and cause weight loss havoc. When we feel under pressure or when we get upset or worried, those old comfort eating buttons get pressed and no food is safe.”

But, although these foods taste good, they are often hugely calorific.

Dietician Priya Tew says: “Although emotional eating can make you feel better, it’s a temporary fix and leads to eating too many high-calorie foods. The good news is you can take steps to regain control of your eating habits.”

Here are WM’s top 10 tips on how to stop dialling out for pizza after a hard day at work.

1. ANALYSE YOUR DIET: Keep a food and mood diary. Try writing down everything you eat for a week and jot down what you were feeling before you ate it. Try to pinpoint what it is you need and aren’t getting. It may be approval, security, love, or even just a hug.

2. TRY MOOD-BOOSTING FOODS: It’s important to remember that not only doughnuts can make us feel good. There are other foods that work much better. There is growing evidence that a Mediterranean diet, with its emphasis on fruits, vegetables and olive oil, is associated with less depression. Also, try eating more omega-3 fatty acids, like those found in tuna, salmon, herring and walnuts, as they are supposed to help the mind as well as the body.

3. THINK ABOUT YOUR FOOD: Eat mindfully and take time to relax and enjoy food. In our fast-paced society, multitasking often results in eating quickly to manage stress. Try making every meal a special occasion. It only takes a few more minutes to eat in a relaxed way. Turn off the TV, switch off the laptop and pay attention to all the wonderful aromas and textures of a healthy meal.

4. PLAN AHEAD: It’s easy to opt for a packet of crisps if it seems there is nothing else to munch on. Don’t order so many “naughty” foods when you shop online, and pick tasty fruit and vegetables that you can slice to provide healthier snacks. If the chocolate isn’t in the cupboard, you’ll look for something else. And you are more likely to eat some celery, peppers or carrots if they are nicely chopped and sitting at the front of the fridge.

5. FIND A NEW COMFORT: If you are eating because you are bored, find another way to amuse yourself so you don’t always reach for the biscuit tin. Try going for a swim, or even a walk. Exercise is a natural mood-enhancer. If you’re feeling sad or anxious, try short bursts of any type of activity. Climb the stairs to burn some calories and it might even release some tension too.

Music is also a powerful mood-changer. Put something upbeat on if you are feeling a bit stressed, dance around the house and create some playlists that make you feel good. If you have just broken up with someone, the last thing you want to be listening to is a sad love song. It’ll only lead you to the biscuit tin.

6. DISTRACT YOURSELF: Keep yourself occupied – de-clutter that room you’ve been meaning to sort. Make a list of all the jobs you need to do in the house or garden and put it somewhere you can keep going back to and revisiting. If you feel peckish, but suspect it might be because you are bored, read a book, put a CD on or watch your favourite film – and plain popcorn is not too naughty so you can even have a bowl if you feel like munching on something. Many of us feel peckish late at night, but try having a long soak in the bath, rather than eating another packet of crisps.

7. DON’T DEPRIVE YOURSELF: Don’t cut out comfort food altogether as this kind of deprivation can led to binge-eating, which will only make you feel more guilty. It’s perfectly healthy to eat the foods you crave but try to eat slightly less. Go for a two-finger KitKat instead of four, or one doughnut instead of two.

8. KEEP TALKING TO YOURSELF: Find a mantra that you want to stick to. Keep telling yourself that you won’t fit in those jeans or eating that second biscuit will only make you feel guilty. Or make a list and put them on the fridge or biscuit tin. Having the willpower to avoid the cravings will ultimately lift your mood.

9. TRY THE WAITING GAME: If you are really craving some comfort food, try waiting 15 minutes before you reach for the burger and chips. It will give you time to evaluate whether you really do want it and the craving may subside.

10. EXPECT AND ACCEPT THE INEVITABLE: We’re only human. Sometimes it’s just too difficult not to give into temptation. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you do reach for that comfort food just a little too often. Know that you can start afresh tomorrow. Try to work out what is bothering you. If it’s a work problem, see if you can sort it out. If it’s boredom, take up a new hobby.

Fatty fish, like salmon, is filled with omega-3 fatty acids. When it comes to fighting stress, omega-3 also can help you anxiety levels drop by 20%, according to a recent Ohio State study. Omega-3 is also good for your heart health, which can be especially important if your family has a history of heart disease.

Oatmeal is one of those fiber-filled foods that helps your brain produce serotonin, which is a chemical that plays a big part in your overall mood. It also gives you energy so that you can face your day without stress. Oatmeal also has the added benefit of reducing the risk for heart disease.

Beverages for an Upset Stomach

Stay hydrated even when you have an upset stomach, particularly if you're vomiting or have diarrhea — both of which cause dehydration. Drink clear liquids, which refers to those that you can see through such as water, apple juice, chicken broth and weak tea.

If you're vomiting, and it seems impossible to even keep liquids down, try to suck on ice chips or frozen juice chips to remain hydrated. The American Cancer Society recommends trying to drink 1 teaspoon of cool liquid every 10 minutes after you stop throwing up and gradually increasing that amount to 1 tablespoon over the next hour.

3. Recognize that there's a lot more to this life than having it all together.

Our world puts a huge emphasis on making it seem like we have our lives together. The reality is, if we're being human to the fullest, we probably won't have it all together all the time. That's completely OK. You are allowed to feel and experience emotions and cry it out. You are allowed to ask for help and admit that you don't know what to do next. You are allowed to admit that you don't have all the answers, and I hope that you do. Humans are meant to live in community. We aren't meant to do this thing called life alone. Reach out to others for help, and be there for them when they need you, too. Don't be afraid to share your story. Every day won't be the best day, but every day will have a lesson. I'd challenge you to find that lesson, even when it's hard. You won't find that lesson if you're busy trying to cover it up. Looking back, some of the worst days have given me the best stories and lessons. I hope you'll find that the same is true for you, too.

65 Best Comfort Food Recipes to Indulge In All Year Long

Satisfy your cravings with these can't-go-wrong classics.

Contrary to popular belief, you don't have to wait until the middle of winter to cook up your favorite comfort food classics! Here, we've rounded up the absolute best comfort food recipes around so that you can satisfy your most tantalizing cravings all year long. Whether it's winter, spring, summer, or fall, giving into your guiltiest pleasures is always fun. Here we come, mashed potatoes!

First things first, though, you'll want to identify what it is exactly that you're craving. Are you looking for something hearty to fill you (and your whole family) up? Check out our queso mac and cheese recipe, which features tomatoes, slightly spicy green chiles, and crunchy corn chip pieces. Alternatively, opt for something vegetable-focused and healthy&mdashyes, healthy!&mdashlike a lightened-up Instant Pot soup recipe or a mini carrot pot pie. Not only will you delight your vegetarian guests, but you'll be surprised to find that these dishes are also delicious and indulgent enough for meat lovers to devour too.

Of course, you haven't truly experienced Southern comfort food until you've had a taste of one of the desserts on our list. From a double-crust apple pie featuring the surprising addition of cheddar cheese to an upgraded pecan slab pie, there's something here to appeal to everyone in your family. Now, all you have to worry about is making enough for leftovers!

The Best and Worst Foods to Eat When You’re Sick

So you did everything in your power to stay away from the office cold (dang it, Linda!) and even made sure to get your flu shot this year. But despite your best efforts, you’re now stuck on the couch for a brutal few days — ugh.

Whether it’s a plain old head cold, a stomach virus, or the mother of all flus, it’s time to stock up on food and drinks that’ll get you back in tip-top shape in no time.

You know that old saying “Feed a cold, starve a fever”? A 2016 study at Yale found that, yes, eating may help fight viral infections and fasting may help combat bacterial infections. Wang A, et al. (2016). Opposing effects of fasting metabolism on tissue tolerance in bacterial and viral inflammation. DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2016.07.026

But hang on a sec. It’s worth noting that the study was done on listeria- and influenza-infected mice, not humans. Also, the subjects were force-fed glucose (sugar), an ingredient on our list of no-no’s below. So until more research is done, we can’t tell you for sure either way.

But what we do know is that when you’re sick, your body needs at least some nourishment. No matter how awful you feel, it’s important to stick to a regular eating schedule because consuming fewer calories than normal can restrict your body’s ability to heal.

We recommend eating small, frequent portions of food. Listen to your body to determine when you’re actually hungry. This makes it easier to maintain a steady supply of fuel while your body recovers.

The best foods on this list will keep you hydrated, give your body extra energy, and provide nutrients to help you stay strong, all without aggravating your upset stomach or clogged-up respiratory system.

Next time you’re feeling under the weather, try incorporating some of these foods into your diet to experience a quicker — or at least more comfortable — recovery.

The best way to kick a cold is to drink plenty of fluids and eat phlegm-fighting foods. Here are some winners.

Broth-based soup

This one isn’t just an old wives’ tale — chicken noodle may actually help soothe a cold.

For starters, broth contains vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes, which you’ll need if you’ve been sweating. Plus, a landmark study from 1978 showed that hot broth helps keep nasal passages moist, prevent dehydration, and fight inflammation in the throat. Saketkhoo K, et al. (1978). Effects of drinking hot water, cold water, and chicken soup on nasal mucus velocity and nasal airflow resistance.

Hot tea

Drinking tea (especially Chinese, Japanese, or American varieties) while you’re under the weather can help your body fight off infections. This is thanks to natural bacteria-fighting compounds in tea, especially green tea. Reygaert WC. (2014). The antimicrobial possibilities of green tea.DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2014.00434

Plus, warm liquids can soothe a sore throat and alleviate congestion. Freshly brewed tea or hot water with lemon is ideal for staying hydrated while helping out that stuffy nose.

Citrus fruits

While vitamin C, found in large amounts in citrus, can’t necessarily cure the common cold, research summarizing 29 trials found that it can help reduce the length and severity of colds in both adults and children. Hemilä H, et al. (2013). Vitamin C for preventing and treating the common cold. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD000980.pub4

What’s more, fruits like oranges, lemons, grapefruits, and limes contain flavonoids, which research shows have antioxidant, antiviral, and antibacterial properties. Kozlowska A, et al. (2014). Flavonoids — food sources and health benefits.

Ice pops

Staying properly hydrated while sick with a chest cold can thin mucus and lessen congestion. Since it’s better to eat whole fruit than to drink it, ice pops are a great way to hydrate.

As a bonus, they are especially easy on your throat. Buy ones made from 100 percent whole fruit. Extra points if you make your own healthy ones at home.

Spicy foods

Spicy foods can make your nose run and your eyes water, but they’re also effective natural decongestants. Eating chili peppers, wasabi, or horseradish can help relieve the symptoms of congestion. Van Gerven L, et al. (2014). Capsaicin treatment reduces nasal hyperreactivity and transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily V, receptor 1 (TRPV1) overexpression in patients with idiopathic rhinitis. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaci.2013.08.026

When it comes to stomach issues (which can accompany the flu), eating bland, easy-to-digest foods and staying hydrated are the best strategies for a quick recovery. Here are a few of your best bets.

Crackers and toast

If you’re hugging the porcelain throne (or about to be), remember this rule: The blander, the better. Plain, unsalted crackers cereals pretzels and toast are simple foods that are easy on the stomach.

It’s not totally clear why this is, but perhaps it’s a scent thing. Studies show that strong-smelling foods contribute to nausea. Marx W, et al. (2016). Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting: A narrative review to inform dietetics practice. DOI: 10.1016/j.jand.2015.10.020


Bananas are easy to digest and rich in potassium, which is often depleted during bouts of sweating, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Plus, one study showed that pectin (a type of water-soluble fiber found in fruits) relieved digestive distress and inflammation in patients with irritable bowel syndrome. Xu L, et al. (2015). Efficacy of pectin in the treatment of diarrhea predominant irritable bowel syndrome.


Ginger has long been studied for its stomach-soothing properties. Several studies have shown that ginger is effective at preventing and treating nausea and other gastric ailments, such as constipation, bloating, and vomiting. Lete I, et al. (2016). The effectiveness of ginger in the prevention of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy and chemotherapy. DOI: 10.4137/IMI.S36273

Drinking ginger tea or flat ginger ale (to avoid disrupting your stomach with carbonation) can help you stay hydrated while relieving tummy troubles.

Spicy and acidic foods

While spicy foods might be good for clearing nasal congestion, they can be rough on your stomach. This is thanks to a powerful ingredient called capsaicin, which can disrupt your digestive tract.

The same goes for citrus. The vitamin C may be beneficial for cold-like symptoms, but fruits like grapefruit, oranges, and lemons can also irritate your stomach lining and cause more pain and discomfort. Steer clear of both if you have an upset stomach.


If ever there was a time for comfort food, being sick in bed would be it, right? But a high sugar intake can contribute to inflammation and a lowered immune response. Even though fro yo sounds like a good idea, it’s best to skip it when you’re feeling under the weather. Raatz S, et al. (2015). Consumption of honey, sucrose, and high-fructose corn syrup produces similar metabolic effects in glucose-tolerant and -intolerant individuals. DOI: 10.3945/jn.115.218016

Greasy foods and refined carbs

Pass on the burgers and fries. Greasy foods cooked in partially hydrogenated vegetable oils contain artificial trans fats. These fats lower the HDL (“good”) cholesterol in your body, and they increase inflammatory markers — the last thing you need when you’re sick. [Mohsen M, et al. (2017). Inflammatory markers are positively associated with serumtrans-fatty acids in an adult American population.DOI: 10.1155/2017/3848201]

Might as well ditch the bun, too. Studies have shown that refined carbohydrates (white breads, pastas, pancakes) cause a sharp insulin spike and create inflammation in the body. Bhaskar B, et al. (2016). Death by carbs: Added sugars and refined carbohydrates cause diabetes and cardiovascular disease in Asian Indians.

Milk (maybe)

The jury is still out on this one. Many people believe that drinking milk promotes mucus production in the lungs, but a 2019 study from Australia showed that may not be the case. Balfour-Lynn IM. (2019). Milk, mucus and myths. DOI: 10.1136/archdischild-2018-314896

Even if your phlegm isn’t dining on dairy, the texture of milk combined with saliva can feel thick and uncomfortable in your mouth. If this bothers you or you have a known dairy allergy, avoid milk while you’re sick.

Being sick is your body’s way of telling you to Slow. Down. Right. Now. It’s annoying, sure, but it’s also serving a pretty huge purpose — to get you back into a state of equilibrium.

So let’s honor that. At the risk of sounding like your mother: Get plenty of rest, stay hydrated, and fill your plate with lots of nutrient-rich foods, kiddo. Maybe even tuck into a Netflix series (or five). You’ll be back on your feet in no time.