Why Does Chocolate Make Us Happy

Why Does Chocolate Make Us Happy?

 

Throughout our life, as we grow, the world evolves into a different place. School turns to college, college turns into work, its as if everything around gradually transforms to create a whole new world. Yet throughout this gradual change, if there is one thing that stays constant, it is the love we have for chocolate. Whether it is Valentine’s Day or someone’s birthday, the joy that we have from chocolate is truly a globally positive feeling. It is the perfect partner to cheer up our sad days and make our celebrations even better. With all the positive moments and memories that we have associated with chocolate, there is one question that naturally comes up; How does this little bar of cocoa manage to make us happy.

At the core of the miraculous impacts of chocolate, the secrets lie in the chemicals called endorphins. Endorphins are chemicals that are released in our brains that generate positive feelings in our minds. These chemicals can be instrumental in creating a feeling of happiness and acting as a natural painkiller.

So how is chocolate related to endorphins?

Well, according to a study conducted in 2013 by key researchers at the Scientific University Henri Poincaré in Nancy, France, the consumption of chocolate has a direct impact on the internal release of endorphins in our brain. Chocolate manages to react with the inner receptors in our brain and increases the release of endorphins. These chemicals further manage to spread out within our body and increase our internal positive feelings and decrease pain, stress and general negativity.

To add to the research present on chocolates, a research conducted in 1996 on American Women and the release of endorphins showed a direct positive correlation between the consumption of chocolate and a decrease in negative.

So, at its core, the consumption of chocolate truly manages to interact with our internal chemicals and have a positive impact. This impact is an inherent property of the cocoa contained within the chocolate. In terms of the psychological impacts, the consumption of chocolate is also directly correlated to a general positive feeling within the brain, reaffirming positive energy based on the action, this makes a strong case for chocolates to be highly possible for the body.

Impact of Chocolates on Brain Chemistry

The positive impacts of chocolates are not purely limited to the release of endorphins within the brain. Within the brain, the internal chemistry is a combination of Serotonin, Dopamine, Endorphins, and Oxytocin. The consumption of chocolates manages to have a positive impact because it causes all of these chemicals to release into our bodies. The culmination of these chemicals created a quarter of our general happiness. That is a major reason why chocolate acts as a major positive factor for our happiness and leads to an instant mood boost. The materials within the chocolate impact brain receptors to convey a positive message and directly boost our mood.

However, it is important to note that the impact of the aforementioned chemicals varies in strength-based upon the type of chocolate. Darker chocolates with higher cocoa content are proven to have a much stronger impact on the release of endorphins because of their nature. There is a direct correlation between the amount of cocoa and the number of endorphins released. This impact relates to the release of the endorphins with the consumption of chocolate and the impact on brain receptors.

However, the positive impact of chocolate on happiness is not just limited to the release of chemicals in our brains. Chocolate in itself has a positive impact on many other areas of our body as well. The positive impacts of dark chocolate on general blood pressure and stress are well documented in different academic circles. Backing up the notion that chocolate can be extremely beneficial for physical well being as well. It is not important to note that just like any other aspect of life, moderation is the key to have positive impacts and any possible negative effects from overeating.

 

History of Chocolate and Happiness

It is important to note that chocolate has been contributing positively to the wellbeing of humans for centuries. Originating from the Aztec word “xocatl”, chocolate in its pure form was consumed for wisdom and enjoyment. Conservative estimates speculate that chocolate has existed in society for about 2000 years. However, some estimates based on research suggest that the actual might be even older than that. There is evidence presented for the consumption of chocolate back up to 4 millennia in Pre Columbian cultures such as Olmec.

The analysis of history suggests that the correlation between chocolate and happiness is one forged for as long as modern history exists. Even though the utilization in those times was primarily in liquid form, chocolate in some form was central to the improvement in mood and as the cause of happiness. The positive impact of chocolates was first noted in Aztec cultures where the victims of sacrificial rituals where given chocolate to cheer them up and cause a positive feeling.

The popular cultural explosion of chocolate happened around the 17th century when Europeans experimented with chocolate and mixed it with honey and other sweeteners to create milk chocolate that is present today. The product was further refined in the 18th century and solid chocolate was created in the 18th century by a Dutch chemist. The Dutch cocoa of the time was the basis of the creation of modern chocolate by Joseph Fry in 1847 with the inclusion of melted butter.

Chocolate had such an astoundingly positive impact on human wellbeing that during the American Revolution, chocolate was used as a paycheck for soldiers during the war. Chocolate had an astound impact in improving the mood of the soldiers and fortified them with positive energy to fight on the war. Even today, chocolate is extensively used in homes today by parents as a token of appreciation and reward to motivate kids to display exemplary behavior.

The dimensions in which chocolate is being consumed across daily life has evolved across culinary disciplines with the introduction of global cuisines that have incorporated chocolate as their center point to add a positive flair to the overall experience of the cuisine. The consumption of chocolate-based desserts is also globally renowned for its impact on happiness and general mood.

 

Effect of Chocolate on Neurotransmitters

For decades, scientists struggled to explain the impact of chocolate on mood. It was difficult to quantify the factors which contributed to chocolate being the primes positive factors in boosting moods and increasing feelings of happiness. However, the 21st century has been monumental in quantifying the impact of chocolate on positive feelings and general well-being.

The core reason behind the chocolate being highly effective with mood is the fact that chocolates contain chemicals that directly interact with the body to have a positive impact. Some of the core chemicals at work are the following.

  • Trimethylxanthine – Often referred to as caffeine, this chemical has a major positive impact by working around the adenosine neurotransmitter and contributing to increased activeness and improved heart rate and muscle contraction. When consumed in moderation, the chemical can have vastly positive impacts on general functioning and subsequently health.
  • Tryptophan – Tryptophan is the amino acid usually present in minor quantities within chocolate. This amino acid is used by the brain during the creation of Serotonin which subsequently leads to an increase in happiness and a generally improved mood.
  • Theobromine – Theobromine results in the energy boost people experience after the consumption of chocolate. The chemical results in a vast increase in general energy within the body and improves happiness by increasing the activity of the body.
  • Phenylethylalanine – Phenylethylalanine is the core chemical behind the feeling of attraction and general excitement. It is what causes us to feel excited anytime we see anything and get excited. The chemical is contained within chocolate as well, cause us to giddy-up and fall in love with the taste of chocolate after a single bite.
  • Anandamide – Named after the Sanskrit word translating directly to “bliss”, Anandamide is the core chemical responsible for boosting the creation of dopamine in our body. This chemical leads to a strong feeling of attraction and general positivity and is found relatively within chocolate. Dopamine is often the major cause behind strong feelings of positivity and general well-being. That is why the feeling resulting from this dopamine flush-in is often referred to as a chocolate high. The nature of the feeling resembles some of the positive impacts of THC in moderation.

 

These chemicals contained within chocolate all work directly with our neurotransmitters to add happiness and excitement to our life. These chemicals when consumed in moderation add to us leading a happier, more fulfilled life. Aside from these core chemicals, chocolate also has over 300 other natural chemicals that are all related to the positive influence of feelings in our neurotransmitters and improve our general feelings. These transmitters communicate and transmit neurons to conduct the internal transfer of messages. These neurons are central to a large number of our daily emotions and feelings. The influence of chocolate on these neurotransmitters reflects the positive impact of several core functions.

 

Chocolate and Taste

Even though there are a ton of reasons why chocolates and the chemicals within lead to happiness, the most important factors remain the same. Chocolate is one of the best tasting food items in the world. Loved equally by adults and children alike, different varieties of chocolates are globally renowned for their stunning taste and texture. Whether it is the sweetness of milk chocolates or the bitter kick to darker ones, people across the world love the taste of chocolate and love to embed it in their cuisines to add flair to their existing cooking.

This factor itself of eating well-tasting food directly leads to happiness on the account of chocolate tasting great. Whenever a well-tasting food hits our taste buds, it leads to a positive signal sent throughout the body that reinforces and increases feelings of happiness and general positivity. Chocolate is highly right in terms of taste, providing a great sensation to taste buds and directly leading to feelings of happiness.

 

Importance of Chocolate in Todays Corona Environment

The world seems in major disarray today due to the rampant spread of the Corona Virus. Governments across the world are recommending social distancing and general home-based activities. This has let to normal day-to-day life getting massively impacted due to the limitations that are being enforced to control the spread of the virus.

The situation had led to major questions about the general future of the world and widespread panic, anxiety, and general despair are common feelings amongst people. In the midst of all this, the world needs to focus upon positive aspects to keep spirits high as the world collectively battles the menace of the virus and figures out a way out.

Chocolates are one of the best ways to keep ourselves positives throughout this virus as we fight and look for a way forward. The impact of chocolates on boosting moods and general spirits is rapidly documented for as long as humans have existed. It is really important for people today to reconvene on mutually common principles and carve a way forward. The nature of chocolate allows it to serve as a major tool of spreading positivity and leading to an improved mental state.

In times like this, it can be really easy to fall into a chain of negative thoughts based on the situation of the world. The consumption of chocolates helps manage this panic and paves a way forward to finding happiness through these tough times. The inherent positive health impacts of chocolate are also well known due to its ability to boost immune systems and general healthy living when consumed in moderation.

There are several ways to add chocolate to your general diet to add a flair of happiness into your every day to make sure that you stay in high-spirits to battle with the virus and the resultant negativity all around.

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