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7 Fulfilling Ways to Feed A Broken Heart

Losing someone you love, whether to time, distance, or a breakup, can be one of the worst feelings in the world. As you wait for your feelings to settle, know that there are ways that you can find comfort, including focusing on self-care and surrounding yourself with your support system.

broken heart

The Instagram story #feedingabrokenheart particularly inspired us. After her newborn passed away, Lindsay, the founder of Pinch of Yum, started #feedingabrokenheart. It’s a series she says is dedicated to “helping those who are hurting to find their way again through food.” We’ve paired up a few stories that touched our soul with ways that food (and love) really can get you back on your feet a little faster.

1. Soothe your soul with comfort food

A post shared by Dixya MS, RD, LDN (@foodpleasurehealth) on

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Comfort foods can provide just that — comfort. User @foodpleasurehealth whipped up a favorite from fridge leftovers that reminded her of her childhood days. For others, a rich plate of mac and cheese can evoke nostalgia. Research shows these triggered memories of happier times can actually increase your mood, which can also help soothe some of the hurt.

From ice cream to pasta, there’s no one way to have comfort food. To honor your health and still provide comfort, look for ways to modify your favorites to provide more nutrition. Examples include adding pureed butternut squash to your mac-n-cheese, choosing whole-grain pasta, or choosing a reduced-sugar ice cream.

2. Boost your mood with chocolate

A post shared by sanah | 21 | CA (@bakingatcollege) on

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User @bakingatcollege whipped up these amazing coconut oil cookies for her friend who just had surgery in college.

A 2006 study found that eating chocolate promoted joy in many of the participants. If you’re whipping up a batch of healthy, coconut oil cookies like the ones above, choose dark chocolate with a large percentage of cacao. Dark chocolate has more antioxidants and much less sugar than white chocolate, milk chocolate, or truffles.

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3. Cook for stress relief

A post shared by Amelia (@kitchenofamelia) on

Cooking serves as a creative outlet. Think of it as therapy. The sensory, immersive experience can help take your mind off things and activate your numbed-from-stress senses.

Cooking a meal exactly how you love it can also provide a sense of accomplishment and immediate gratification, which is always a plus if your self-esteem needs a boost.

A great example of a food that could provide a great outlet and keep you engaged with hands-on work is homemade vegan carrot soup. There are plenty of (easy) steps that are all worth the delicious pay off.

4. Eat better food for more energy and improved health

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For her dear friend after the her father’s passing, @soulmydaintyc rolled this vegetarian sushi platter. While comfort food is a good choice, remember to nourish your body, too. The better your body feels, the better you’ll feel. Delicious, nutritious food like this sushi will help your body get all the vitamins, energy, and mood boosting it needs.

There are certain foods you can eat that have great effects on mental health. Probiotics, for example, reduce anxiety and improve mental outlook. Mediterranean diets are also helpful to prevent depression.

Read more: Depression and diet »

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5. Boost your serotonin levels with foods

A post shared by Lindsay Ostrom (@pinchofyum) on

If you need another case for comfort food, check out this gooey baked mac and cheese dish by @pinchofyum. Some foods, such as cheese, eggs, salmon, and nuts, can help elevate levels of serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that regulates sleep and impulse control (both of which are sometimes needed during a time of heartbreak). Elevated levels of serotonin can mean an elevated mood.

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7 foods to boost your serotonin »

6. Cook to help with mindfulness and meditation

A post shared by Megan McKeehan (@megsmckeehan) on

In honor of her father, @megsmckeehan remade this dish of Mexican corn cakes. Cooking requires you to be conscious of what you’re doing in that exact moment. It gets you to engage in mindfulness, which has multiple health benefits, including stress and anxiety reduction. Most of all, it can take your mind off the hurt that you’re feeling. One study found that having a creative goal during the day, like cooking, inspired a positive effect in participants.

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7. Bring people together with a meal

A post shared by Lindsay Ostrom (@lindsaymostrom) on

It’s more true than ever, as we’ve come to know from the amazing stories being shared on the #feedingabrokenheart series. The founder of Pinch of Yum, @lindsaymostrom, says it best in her own words about the series.

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These last few months have been heavy with the deepest grief and heartache we've ever known. And for me, those emotions have come hand-in-hand with losing my appetite. We've been so incredibly fortunate to have such a strong community of people supporting us, both online (hi! that's you!) and in person. Over the last ten weeks, we've had countless soups, lasagnas, tacos, enchiladas, and more dropped off on our doorstep by people who love us and love Afton, and it has helped me to find my way with food again.
– Lindsay Ostrom, founder of Pinch of Yum and the #feedingabrokenheart series

When you’re hurting and heartbroken, you need your support system around you. And food is a fantastic way to bring people together. Whether you’re cooking dinner with friends or heading out, bonding with your support system over delicious food is a great step toward healing.

Keep reading: Healthy eating for depression »

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