18/10/2010 08:43 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Crumbs! Toast Proves To Be Britain's Best Feel-Good Food

Raise your mug, ladies and gentlemen. The humble breakfast staple and midnight munchies hero toast has been scientifically proven to be the UK's top feel good food and Britain's most loved food smell.

Margaret O'Hare

Professor Tim Jacob of the School of Biosciences at Cardiff University has found that just a whiff of hot toast can trigger happy memories.

Home sweet home
Basically, it reminds us of home - a phenomenon known as the 'Proust effect,' named after the 19th-century French author who suggested that the sweet smell of baking bread creates fuzzy feelings of nostalgia for mum's kitchen and an instant sense of homeliness.

The smell of hot bread is directly linked to positive memories of times when our wellbeing levels were high. It's why having bread baking in the oven is widely known to be one of the best ploys for selling your home. And helps explain why a recent survey by the Flour Advisory Bureau found that 99% of us claim we simply love toast!

Professor Jacob explains: "It's clear that toast reminds us of family. Breakfast, the meal where most toast is eaten, is generally a family meal and this association stays with us.

Family food

"Toast is used as a treat and to cheer us up, so when we leave home it recalls family breakfasts and is therefore comforting. Psychologically, a process of conditioned association occurs to link toast and the smell and flavour of toast with key positive moments in our lives - intimate family moments."

He adds: "It is entirely conceivable that people can sniff their way back to happy childhoods with the aroma of toast - delivering a warm, feel - good factor across countless breakfast tables throughout the nation."

We'll eat to that.

What does the smell and taste of toast do for you? Do you reach for the bread bin when you need some comfort food?