We all know how nice it is to finish a delicious takeaway, and the positive effects it has on our moods. But how much of an effect does it have, and which cuisine actually makes people the happiest?
By conducting a Brief Mood Introspection Scale (BMIS) test among more than 2,000 participants and analysing their emotional response to 11 different meals, Lieferando.at can answer the question.
On average, Lieferando.at found that ordering any kind of meal increases happiness by 52 percent. However, of the 11 foods, Indian cuisine improves happiness the most, by 83 percent. This cuisine raised participants’ BMIS by 118 points. Researchers found that spices like turmeric can also boost one’s mood.
A popular second and firm favourite was sushi, with a 73 percent increase in happiness. Participants reported a significant boost in positive emotions, with an increase of BMIS from 142 to 246.
Fish and chips was discovered to be the least impactful dish for happiness. It improved participants’ happiness by only 18 percent, raising their BMIS score by 26 points. Although the score is still impressive, fish and chips earned 92 BMIS points less than Indian food.
Lieferando.at spoke to Lee Chambers, psychologist and wellbeing consultant, to explain more about the relationship between food and happiness.
“From a psychological perspective, food alters our mood through several pathways. Firstly, the idea of comfort food is not a myth; we can use food as a coping mechanism when we are feeling stressed, anxious, or bored to anchor us in the present while enjoying it. Given the turbulence of 2020 and the limitations on some forms of entertainment, food has become even more powerful in being a tool of happiness and being an experience that is certain, the same every time.
When we look at the brain chemicals at play, our favourite meal can trigger dopamine release. Even just thinking about it can stimulate this, generating a craving that we can then satisfy. An elevated cortisol level can also induce a craving for foods that create a level of comfort, especially foods with higher levels of fat. Ghrelin and leptin, our hunger hormones, can also impact our emotions and drive our eating behaviours. When we are hungry, and our blood sugar is low, we find it harder to manage our emotional regulation and balance, and this can lead to moments of becoming hangry.”