Cooking as Therapy: New Poll Reveals How Americans Turn to Comfort Food and Culinary Activities to Alleviate Stress


In a recent survey commissioned by Noom and conducted by OnePoll, the intricate relationship between stress, daily activities, and food preferences among 2,000 Americans who regularly cook has come to light. The findings indicate that a significant majority—seven in 10—consider cooking as therapy, emphasizing the deep emotional connection people have with the culinary experience.

Cooking As Therapy And Understanding The Culinary Realm:

The survey reveals that a staggering 80% of respondents turn to food as a means of comforting themselves after a stressful day. Moreover, an impressive 65% use food as a way to comfort others, highlighting the communal and nurturing aspects of culinary activities. Notably, ice cream emerged as the top go-to comfort food (34%), closely followed by pizza (31%), pasta (24%), burgers (22%), and grilled cheese (19%).

Cooking itself has been recognized as a therapeutic task, with 78% of participants agreeing that it serves as a calming activity for them. Surprisingly, cooking outranks other stress-relief activities, with 65% of respondents citing it as their top choice, more than twice as high as the second leading option—cleaning (31%).

The Stressors of Daily Life:

As the day unfolds, stress takes its toll on 90% of participants to some degree. Over a quarter (28%) claim to feel stressed “all the time” or “often” after their day concludes. Job-related pressures (40%), to-do lists (32%), and social life concerns (28%) were identified as the primary causes of end-of-the-day stress.

Given the importance of mental health to respondents (89%), a significant 81% actively strive to ensure they are stress-free and worry-free before bedtime. This commitment to mental well-being is reflected in the daily tasks respondents enjoy, such as cooking (80%), cleaning (43%), doing laundry (41%), gardening (39%), and folding laundry (34%).

Cooking and Media Consumption for Stress Relief:

According to Dr. Andreas Michaelides, Ph.D., chief of psychology at Noom, cooking serves as a therapeutic and relaxing task, allowing individuals to focus on a singular activity, practice reflection, and create something positive that nourishes both the body and the mind.

The survey delved into various stress-relief methods, with listening to music (35%), watching TV (34%), taking a bath or shower (34%), eating a comfort meal (23%), and cooking for themselves (21%) identified as the most effective ways to unwind at the end of the day. Notably, one in five participants turns to social media for stress relief, finding cooking videos (85%), animal videos (76%), and music videos (72%) beneficial to their mental health.

Food-related media, including cooking shows and videos, was deemed relaxing by two-thirds of respondents (65%), and a third reported watching such content “always” or “often” to unwind before bed. The average person watches 13 food-related videos in any given week.

Top Food Media Personalities:

The survey also explored the food media personalities and chefs viewers prefer to watch for relaxation. Gordon Ramsey emerged as the top choice for 30% of respondents, followed by Guy Fieri (24%), Alton Brown (18%), Uncle Roger (15%), and Matty Matheson (14%).

While acknowledging the benefits of social media for stress relief, Dr. Michaelides emphasized the importance of mindful consumption, cautioning against prolonged exposure that may lead to burnout.

As stress remains an ever-present aspect of daily life, Americans are turning to the soothing embrace of cooking and culinary activities.

From finding solace in familiar comfort foods to engaging in the therapeutic act of preparing meals, the survey sheds light on the profound connection between food, relaxation, and mental well-being in the lives of those who regularly cook.

— Share —

— About the Author —

Leave a Reply

Up Next

Delving into the Love-Hate Relationship Teens Have with TikTok and Instagram

Body: In an era where social media has become an integral part of daily life, a complex relationship has emerged between teenagers and platforms like TikTok and Instagram. A recent examination sheds light on the dichotomy of emotions that adolescents experience towards these ubiquitous apps.

Research has long highlighted the potential risks associated with heavy social media use among teens, including heightened anxiety, depression, and feelings of loneliness. Despite these concerns, TikTok and Instagram remain immensely popular among adolescents, serving as primary avenues for social interaction and connection with peers.

Teen’s Interest Towards TikTok and Instagram

One of the primary reasons behind teens’ affinity

Up Next

Dutch Woman Elects Euthanasia Due to Untreatable Mental Health Struggles: Sparks Debate

In a poignant decision highlighting the ongoing debate surrounding euthanasia, a 28-year-old Dutch woman, Zoraya ter Beek, has opted for euthanasia due to her severe and untreatable mental health struggles. The decision, set to take place in May, has reignited discussions about the role of euthanasia in cases of mental illness and the broader ethical implications of such choices.

Ter Beek, who has battled depression, autism, and borderline personality disorder, has found herself in a situation where conventional treatments have proved ineffective.

Despite the presence of a supportive boyfriend and pets, she perceives her mental illness as insurmountable, prompting her decision to end her suffering through euthanasia.

Impact Of Euthanasia

Up Next

Experts Warn Against Relying Solely on Chatbot Platforms for Mental Health Guidance

Concerns have been raised over the increasing reliance on chatbot platforms for mental health guidance, with experts warning of potential inaccuracies and psychological harm.

Malaysian Psycho-Spiritual Well-being Association deputy chairman and psychologist Dr. Adnan Omar highlighted the dangers of using platforms like ChatGPT for mental health inquiries, emphasizing that while they offer convenience and anonymity, their diagnostic capabilities may be inaccurate.

One such case is that of Kelly Tan, an accountant who turned to ChatGPT for solutions to her trouble sleeping. After receiving a diagnosis of insomnia from the platform, Tan purchased medication without seeking a second opinion from a healthcare professional.

However, she later discovered that her sleep problems were caused by other factors, leading to dependence on medication and further complications.

Up Next

Dermatologist Recommends ‘Face Basting’ with Diaper Rash Cream for Dry Skin Relief

The skincare world is abuzz with a novel recommendation from NYC board-certified dermatologist Dr. Shereene Idriss: “face basting” with diaper rash cream. Dr. Idriss suggests slathering the face with a zinc-oxide-based diaper rash cream to alleviate dry, inflamed skin, drawing attention to the surprising effectiveness of this unconventional skincare hack.

In a trending TikTok video from December, Dr. Idriss shared her skincare secret, explaining that she applies diaper rash cream all over her face before bed, particularly in dry climates or when her skin feels parched. She coined the term “face basting” to describe this method, likening the result to resembling “Mrs. Doubtfire or a Magnolia buttercream cupcake” before drifting off to sleep.

Up Next

Research Challenges Perception: Female Psychopaths May Be More Common Than Previously Thought

In a groundbreaking revelation challenging traditional perceptions, Dr. Clive Boddy, a prominent professor at Anglia Ruskin University specializing in corporate psychopathy, asserts that female psychopaths may be significantly more prevalent than previously estimated.

Contrary to the long-held belief that male psychopaths outnumber their female counterparts by a ratio of 6 to 1, Boddy’s research suggests a ratio closer to 1.2 to 1, potentially upending our understanding of psychopathy demographics.

Up Next

Finding Hope: Woman’s Misdiagnosed Anxiety Leads to Discovery of Rare Brain Condition

Evie Meg, a 23-year-old from England, recently uncovered a shocking truth about her health after years of misdiagnosis. Initially told by doctors that her symptoms were merely manifestations of anxiety, Meg eventually learned that she suffers from a rare brain condition – Tourette’s syndrome, seizures, and autoimmune basal and ganglia encephalitis – a severe form of brain inflammation.

This revelation came after she received a message from a follower on TikTok suggesting that her symptoms aligned with encephalitis. Subsequent diagnosis confirmed the rare condition, marking the end of a long and tumultuous journey to proper medical understanding.

Up Next

5 Misguided Coping Strategies Exacerbating Anxiety, As Per The Expert

In the realm of mental health, understanding effective coping mechanisms is paramount for individuals grappling with anxiety. Yet, recent insights from anxiety therapist Joshua Fletcher shed light on five misguided coping strategies purported to alleviate anxiety that may inadvertently exacerbate the condition.

Anxiety, characterized by persistent feelings of worry and unease, often prompts individuals to adopt coping mechanisms aimed at quelling discomfort. However, Fletcher’s observations challenge conventional wisdom, suggesting that certain everyday habits might inadvertently fuel anxiety rather than assuage it.

5 Misguided Coping Strategies That Causes Anxiety