Britain has recently fallen back in love with its age-old pastime, baking, thanks to culinary TV hits such as Extreme Cake Makers and the Great British Bake Off.

With its popularity on the rise, baking appears to have transcended its original purpose and become a useful therapy tool.

New YouGov research on behalf of the charity Help for Heroes – ahead of its Bake for Heroes campaign during Armed Forces Week from 22nd to 29th June to raise vital funds for wounded veterans – explores the connection between baking, mental health and well-being. Over half of adults in the East (51%) think that baking a homemade treat can be a good way to cheer people up, and 51% of those who have ever baked say they have done exactly this in the past to try to make someone feel better.

Nationally, the findings show that one in five (22%) of UK adults say that they find the process of baking therapeutic, which is felt particularly strongly amongst Millennials (18-34) (26%).

Baking gives young people a sense of accomplishment and well-being

Over a fifth (23%) of this age group say that baking is a great way to deal with stress and anxiety, compared to one in seven (14%) of those aged 35+. In addition, 15% of Millennials state that baking is a way to escape from the real world, whereas only 6% of 55+ year-olds see baking as escapist. Forty-one-percent of Millennials are also likely to feel a sense of accomplishment when they bake compared to 33% of the 35+ age bracket. With student well-being currently under the spotlight, almost twice as many full-time students feel baking is beneficial to their mental wellbeing (26%) than full time workers (14%).

The rise of culinary therapy

In its work supporting wounded, injured and sick veterans, Help for Heroes has also found baking and culinary therapy can be a useful tool to aid the recovery of those who have sustained life-changing injuries or illnesses. Multi-award winning Cake Artist and star of Channel 4’s Extreme Cake Makers series, Rosie Dummer (AKA Rosie Cake Diva), was previously a Helicopter Pilot with the British Army and is a supporter of Help for Heroes. She is therefore well placed to explain why baking provides so many positive benefits:

“Baking is a form of mindfulness which requires the baker to be in the moment and this is, in itself, a form of stress relief. Not only that, it provides a great outlet for people to express themselves creatively plus giving or receiving homemade bakes offers such a real feel-good factor. In fact it’s not unusual for friends and family to send a member of the Armed Forces a cake or biscuits while they’re deployed abroad – and this can be such a great pick-me-up when you’re away from home.”

The favourite bake of the nation and the UK’s Armed Forces is revealed

The research also reveals that the favourite cake for both the nation and the East of England is Lemon Drizzle, with 12% of UK and adults in the East adults selecting this as their favourite, beating Chocolate Brownies, Carrot Cake, Victoria Sponge and Coffee and Walnut Cake to the crown. Yet while those in the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force are in support of this winning cake (11% and 14%, respectively), the Royal Marines far prefer an indulgent Chocolate Cake (14%) and the British Army throw their weight behind the scrumptious Carrot Cake (13%).

Help for Heroes is encouraging the bakers of Britain and the East of England to join forces for the nation’s biggest bake sale and be part of ‘The Force for Good’ by raising money to empower wounded and injured veterans and their families to reach their potential.

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