Why Chocolate Makes You Happy
If you’re a chocolate lover, you can probably attest to the wave of happiness you experience after you bite into your favorite morsel of the tasty substance. You may attribute this to your own personal preference for chocolate, but there are scientific studies that show that the chemical composition of chocolate may be responsible for releasing endorphins that lift our moods. So, next time you’re feeling a little down, don’t feel guilty about reaching for the nearest box of chocolate treats – you’ll be doing yourself and your body a favor!
How it works
Chocolate – more specifically, the cocoa plant, is loaded with different chemicals that produce a positive feeling in your body and mind. One such chemical is Tryptophan, an amino acid that is responsible for the production of serotonin. Serotonin is known to create feelings of joy and happiness. In fact, having a healthy amount of serotonin is linked to the bodies ability to regulate mood, appetite, sleep, and memory. So, it doesn’t just help you feel happy, it also makes you healthier overall.
Tryptophan isn’t the only “happy” chemical found in chocolate, however. There is also a mild stimulant known as Theobromine, which works similarly to caffeine to boost your energy levels. This may explain the perkiness that you feel after consuming chocolate. It makes sense that feeling more energetic would lead to a positive effect on your overall mood!
The final chemical that scientists have found is called Phenylethylalanine. This chemical is known to be responsible for euphoric and excited feelings, much like those that happen when you first fall in love with someone (so maybe you aren’t being hyperbolic when you say that you love chocolate!) Scientists that have studied the chemical have also observed its ability to act as an anti-depressant because it works to increase natural levels of dopamine in the brain.
All this scientific talk isn’t meant to downplay the emotional response you get from the flavor of chocolate alone. It is well-known that eating food that we enjoy triggers the reward centers of our brains and fills us with positive emotions. This can be said about many kinds of food, but if you are fortunate enough to love the taste of chocolate, you are getting a major boost in mood because of both physical and emotional factors working in your favor.
Not all Chocolate is Created Equally
While all chocolate will contain some level of the previously discussed chemicals, you are better off opting for darker chocolate if you want to get the full benefits. It has higher concentrations of these chemicals and has more flavonoids, which are powerful antioxidants that can help reduce your risk of developing cancer, increase heart health, and lower your blood pressure. So, chocolate doesn’t only give you a temporary boost in energy and happiness, but it is also beneficial for your long-term health. This should give you plenty of reason to stock up on chocolate treats for the rest of your life!