How often do you come home from a long day at work and soothe your frazzled nerves with cheesy, greasy takeout?
You’re not alone.
A recent Harris Poll reveals something we probably already knew – most of us are stress eaters. And many of the 2,250 people surveyed chose pizza as their favorite stress-eating comfort food. According to the poll, 53% of us admit to eating more when we’re stressed (it’s probably more), and 67% said they turn to comfort food specifically to feel better. Pizza more than doubled its closest competitors, chocolate and ice cream, as the comfort food of choice chief comfort food choice.
So what is it about cheesy, salty, fatty goodness that is so comforting?
“Craving is a way for the body to get what it needs. The problem is that we have so much junk food around us and it is easy for us to get confused with what the body needs. The fact that we crave greasy, cheesy food is an indication that our body is in a fatty acid deficiency mode. Additionally, cheese contains the stimulant tyramine and milk contains L-tryptophan, which trigger the release of the “feel-good chemical" serotonin. This is why when we are stressed, we reach for these kinds of foods—to soothe and relax our stress levels,” says Miami-based fitness instructor and nutritionist Monika Paez.
For anyone looking to do a little pizza de-stress, here are some ideas.