A scientific study has revealed that eating a curry boosts our happiness more than any other takeaway.
The moods of 2,100 volunteers who took part in the study were analysed by boffins using a Brief Mood Introspection Scale (BMIS) before they ordered a takeaway, and then again after they had scoffed it, in a bid to find out how ‘happy’ eating it had made them.
The average BMIS score before eating a takeaway – based on current mood and happiness levels – was 142.
But after eating a curry, the average mood of those taking part shot up to 260 on the BMIS scale, a rise of 83%.
Surprisingly, fish and chips – which often tops Brits’ favourite dish – only boosts our mood by 18%, with a BMIS score of 168, putting it in 10th spot, with the top 10 as follows:
1 – Curry – BMIS score 260 – 83% rise
2 – Sushi – BMIS score 246 – 73% rise
3 – Burger & chips – BMIS score 242 – 70% rise
4 – Thai – BMIS score 233 – 64% rise
5 – Chinese – BMIS score 225 – 58% rise
6 – Pizza – BMIS score 216 – 52% rise
7 – Fried chicken – BMIS score 210 – 48% rise
8 – Kebab – BMIS score 181 – 27% rise
9 – Mexican – BMIS score 177 – 24% rise
10 – Fish & chips – BMIS score 168 – 18% rise
The study took place over four weeks, with volunteers tasked with trying one of each of the 10 takeaways – with the aim of finding out which takeaways boosted our serotonin – known as the happy hormone – the most.
Curry fan Jordan Clarke, 32, of Pinner, north west London, said: “Just the thought of ordering a chicken jalfrezi makes me happy.
“I get a curry a couple of times a week and on the days I know I’m getting one I’m happy for the whole day – and when it arrives I’m like a Cheshire Cat.”
A spokesman for takeaway firm Lieferando – which is owned by Just Eat and which conducted the experiment – said last week: “In a bid to find which takeaway boosts our serotonin levels most, we conducted an experiment using the Brief Mood Introspection Scale (BMIS).
“The BMIS scale consists of participants rating the intensity of their positive emotions, such as happiness and liveliness, with the results then totalled to create an overall ‘happiness’ score.
“Participants’ scores were taken before eating any takeaway meal and averaged at 142 BMIS points. Their mood was then analysed after eating each takeaway to note the percentage increase in happiness.”
He added: “We found that ordering a takeaway curry increases happiness levels by 83 per cent, with a BMIS score of 260 – the highest of all meals.
“Surprisingly, In last place is fish and chips, increasing happiness by just 18 per cent on average.
Psychologist Lee Chambers said that comfort food was ‘not a myth’, adding: “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 takeaway 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.”