The official first day of fall may still be a few weeks away but with football season upon us and pumpkin spice everything reemerging on grocery store shelves, we can’t help but get that sweater-loving feeling this time of year.
Comfort foods like chili and shepherd's pie will soon take over your Pinterest boards, but it got us thinking about comfort food for the mind. With so many going back to work, sending their families back to school, and general health and safety still at the forefront of dinner time discussions, what are consumers finding mentally comforting these days?
Conscious consumers are still making a dent in buying trends this year with humanely raised, antibiotic free, and humanely harvested options being the most popular items in the shopping cart. We know that this trend is unlikely to stop anytime soon, with Forbes Magazine noting “With the growing desire to shop ethically, the consumer is more discerning and less likely to fall for “greenwashing”, or businesses that pay only lip service to ethical considerations”. With this in mind, we can see a trend in more consumers opting for poultry over beef at increasing rates as illustrated by the below chart from Vox.com:
Aside from the comforting feeling of making sustainable and humane buying decisions, could consuming more poultry also be comforting in a more scientific fashion?
The short answer: YES!
Whether you are vaccinated or not, worried about the flu or the common cold, fall signifies a rise in cold and flu cases as well as seasonal depression which means your immune system is about to take a hit.
Here is where our favorite protein comes in! Chicken contains an amino acid called tryptophan, which has been linked to higher levels of serotonin which helps relay information throughout your brain. Often called the “feel good” hormone, increased serotonin has a positive impact on sleep and can alleviate anxiety and depression that is often associated with work stress and mental fatigue.
In addition to serotonin, chicken contains high amounts of vitamin B12, Zinc, and Iron, which are all all-stars when it comes to general health and immunity.
Mental clarity, boosted immunity, and aunt Dottie’s famous chicken pot pie? Sounds like chicken is the perfect comfort food to add to your dinner table.