I have been using a bread machine for over 10 years, and have found immense benefits. It is a staple in my kitchen because I enjoy the convenience of the machine, the aroma, and taste of fresh bread. Not to mention my family also enjoys it. In the realm of research, homemade bread has also been shown to have psychological benefits, such as making us kinder and happy.
Researchers have found that just the smell of bread makes us more considerate to others, also known as altruism. Altruism is defined by psychology as selfless concern for another person’s well-being. It is not out of obligation or loyalty, but the simple desire to help. This could be little acts of kindness like holding the door for someone. Or helping a friend despite the personal risk. In this experiment, participants in front of a bakery were 77% more likely to help someone find a lost item compared to 52% by a clothing store. A positive effect was initiated and people were more likely to help others where there were pleasant smells, such as fresh bread.
Fresh bread also makes us happier! In one such study done by UCD’s Institute of Food and Health, 89% of people said the smell of bread makes them happy. In addition, 63% said it surfaced happy memories. Words like childhood, grandparents, home, or mother were evoked. Bread reinforces these happy recollections because our olfactory bulb (nose) is connected to our limbic system, also known as the emotional brain.
A bread machine can be a beneficial investment of time and money. However, you don’t have to buy a brand new machine, I got a second-hand bread machine for $100. If you use it long-term, the cost can be paid off. Also, having a bread machine is convenient as you simply place all your ingredients in the tin, press a button and in a few hours your recipe is prepared! Imagine, having a fresh loaf completed after a two hour class on Zoom.
In celebration of Mental Health Awareness Month, I hope you consider getting a bread machine. Not just to make your own bread, but also to be happy! There is nothing better than having a homemade recipe in the comfort of your home.