If you love watching crime thrillers on TV, you should order an Indian takeaway, according to new research by a leading food scientist.

Freeview, the UK’s biggest free TV service, enlisted leading nutritionist Rob Hobson to give his top TV and takeaway pairings.

Rob advised that an Indian takeaway works well with jumpy TV thrillers, due to the anti-inflammatory spices, which help your stomach deal with anxiety, as well as support healthy blood pressure so your heart can cope with stressful scenes.

For lovers of drama, Italian food like pizza works well as it is high in antioxidants found in olive oil, focus-boosting omega 3, and protein that keeps you fuller for longer, aids concentration and fights fatigue.

And the research found comedy works best with sushi, because laughing releases feel-good chemicals in the brain, which work alongside endorphin inducing amino acids, found in raw fish and rice.

Food scientist and author Hobson said: “Watching TV is a multi-sensory experience in the same way as tucking into a good plate of food.

“Research has shown that certain nutrients can help to support your mood so I looked at your favourite TV show and worked out which takeaway can amplify your viewing experience.”

 According to Hobson, complex sci-fi shows work well with Chinese dishes like sesame chicken, egg fried rice, and salt and pepper tofu, containing omega 3 for focus, choline for memory and concentration, and vitamin B for brain health.

Owen Jenkinson, Marketing Director at Freeview which commissioned the study said: “We all know that a good takeaway is one of life’s little pleasures, with the nation ordering three takeouts on average a month – and as most of us watch TV as we tuck in, we wanted to understand the science behind how the food we eat can enhance the viewing experience.

“From sushi amplifying the comedic effect of the funniest TV shows to Mexican dishes getting hearts racing during romantic scenes, the research shows that food really can be tailored to whatever you’re watching.”

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The science

Anti-inflammatory foods can help your stomach deal with the anxiety associated with a thrilling crime drama, as well as supporting healthy blood pressure so your ticker can cope with stressful scenes. Indian food, with plenty of stomach-settling spices and rich in potassium, is the perfect pairing for suspenseful shows.

What to order

Aloo Gobi – potatoes and cauliflower contain lots of potassium, as well as anti-inflammatory cinnamon (garam masala).

Plain rice – easy to digest for anxious stomachs, and a great accompaniment for stronger flavours.

Daal – full of anti-inflammatory ginger, digestion-helping fennel seeds, and potassium-rich lentils, to quellnausea and maintain healthy blood pressure.

What to watch

Love & Death on ITVX

Screw on Channel 4

Mrs Sidhu Investigates on UKTV Play

Witness Number 3 on My5


The science

Drama shows are often on the longer side and involve complex storylines. Opting for fatigue fighting foods can help you concentrate on all the action. Italian food can help support energy levels with the polyphenols (antioxidants) found in olive oil, focus-boosting omega 3, and protein that keeps you fuller for longer.

What to order

Pizza Napoli – Omega 3-rich anchovies and olive oil in the sauce and base could help you concentrate.

Prosciutto and melon – a popular snack containing a good mixture of vitamins and protein to keep you full.

Arancini – with rice, peas, and mozzarella, the combination of carbohydrates and protein helps to control blood sugar levels and stop you crashing mid-show.

What to watch

Bad Behaviour on BBC iPlayer

Time on BBC iPlayer

Six Four on ITVX

The Ex-Wife on My5


The science

Foods that help to improve cognition lend themselves to mind-bending subject matters. Chinese food is full of eggs and tofu, contains omega 3 for focus, choline for memory and concentration, and vitamin B for brain health.

What to order

Sesame chicken – contains lots of B6, which is involved in cognitive function to keep you focussed, as well ensuring glucose goes to the brain.

Egg-fried rice – eggs are nutritional powerhouses rich in choline. Choline is required to produce acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in memory and concentration.

Salt and pepper tofu – another good source of choline, and a great vegan alternative to meat and fish dishes.

What to watch

Doctor Who on BBC iPlayer

Under the Dome on My5

Humans on Channel 4

We Are Not Alone on UKTV Play

Ancient Aliens on Blaze


The science: A good comedy can really boost your mood. When you laugh, your body releases endorphins – the “feel-good” chemicals in the brain that increase serotonin activity and lead to improved mood and reduced stress. The best foods to heighten that good feeling are those rich in the amino acid tryptophan, carbohydrates, and vitamin B6 – like sushi.

What to order

Salmon maki – salmon contains tryptophan and vitamin B6, while the rice provides a source of carbohydrate to help with tryptophan uptake

Edamame beans – a good source of tryptophan

Beef tataki – a nutrient-rich dish containing B6 and tryptophan.

What to watch

Ghosts on BBC iPlayer

Abbott Elementary on Channel 4

Changing Ends on ITVX

Sneakerhead on UKTV Play

Hullraisers on Channel 4

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