Chocolate and happiness, what is the connection?

I have read how chocolate helps you feel better and beat the winter blues and I would like to know more about it. Any extra information?

Submitted byKaren Foxon Fri, 05/01/2015 - 06:46

What is it about chocolate that makes so many people have feelings of happiness when they think about it and eat it? Is it the creamy good taste? The melt in your mouth texture? Is eating chocolate healthy? Let’s explore chocolate and why there seems to be a connection between chocolate and happiness.

Research shows that the ingredients in chocolate truly have a positive effect when consumed by humans. Chocolate contains over 300 known chemicals and scientists have been conducting research to isolate which ones give you that feeling of happiness.

Theobromine: Theobromine is a “cousin” of caffeine, but does not affect your nervous system like caffeine does. It’s a mild, natural stimulant and the most concentrated amounts are found in cocoa beans. It can make you feel alert, strong and awake. Theobromine helps to relax and open blood vessels in the lungs, and is also known for being a cough suppressant.

Caffeine: Chocolate does have small amounts of caffeine, but not enough to keep you awake like a cup of coffee. A 1.5 ounce candy bar contains about the equivalent amount of caffeine as a cup of decaffeinated coffee.

Phenylethylamine: Phenylethylamine is a compound in chocolate that, when eaten, releases endorphins in your brain. These are the same endorphins that are also released when people are falling in love. This might explain why chocolate and Valentine’s Day go hand in hand.

Researchers at the Neurosciences Institute in San Diego, California believe that "chocolate contains pharmacologically active substances that have the same effect on the brain as marijuana, and that these chemicals may be responsible for certain drug-induced psychoses associated with chocolate craving." This does not mean that chocolate contains THC (the active ingredient in marijuana). However, chocolate does contain another chemical called anandamide which is also a neurotransmitter found naturally in the brain, which causes a chemical reaction in the brain that gives you that good feeling when you eat chocolate.

There are many other minerals and products in chocolate that may help to produce the “feel good feeling” you get when you eat chocolate, but these are the main ones research is showing at this time.

I’m sure continued research will reveal even more reasons why eating chocolate makes you feel so good, so in the mean time, why not conduct your own research and see which type of chocolate makes you feel the best…one delicious morsel at a time.

Chocolate helps you beat the winter blues, and any other blues as well. As always, eat in moderation.

Submitted byFranchescaon Tue, 01/22/2013 - 14:57

Chocolate makes my heart skip a beat, but I know it has to be dark to be healthy. I enjoy a hot dark chocolate made with almond mink. Heat one cup of vanilla flavored almond milk in the microwave, add 2 oz dark chocolate and let it melt. Great drink to comfort your heart, and make you happy. It is healthy and suitable for vegetarians.

Submitted byTrudyon Fri, 01/25/2013 - 21:48

Dark chocolate sauce makes everything better.

I love poached pears in dark chocolate sauce, but I do it the quick way. Peel two medium sized pears (let the stems on) and place them in a heatproof container with a top. Sprinkle lemon juice on (about 1 teaspoon each) and then add two tablespoons water. Cover and microwave on high for about two minutes. Ready! Now drizzle with dark chocolate sauce and enjoy.

I also use the microwave to poach apples, peaches or plums and serve with dark chocolate sauce.