Why do some foods qualify as “comfort foods”? It seems that the phrase “comfort food,” which reminds people of comfort, has been around for quite some time.

What we think of as comfort food contains some inconsistencies, according to researchers. For example, a 2010 study found that those who had more life changes tended to choose experimental dishes rather than sticking to tried-and-true ones. Scientists have also questioned whether the calories in comfort foods might actually improve mood, despite the contradicting results. In fact, a study of 1,400 people in North America found that while men were more likely to eat comfort foods as a celebration, women typically felt horrible after consuming them. Despite these contradictions, it is clear that comfort food holds a special place in the hearts of many individuals.

While it may be difficult to pinpoint exactly what constitutes a “comfort meal,” it is evident that certain foods have a substantial impact on our mental health. Whether we are seeking solace through trying times or enjoying a good occasion, comfort food is typically a vital part of the experience.