Ever felt stressed and a little down you head down to the supermarket and treat yourself to a 250 gram block of chocolate goodness?Mmm, I definitely have.
Are we made to think that chocolate makes us feel good? Or does it actually have an effect on our happiness levels?
Many of us like to associate chocolate with comfort and happy food, and there is science behind this, thank goodness for us who like to indulge in chocolate every now and then.
So what role does chocolate have to play in this?
The main ingredient of chocolate is cocoa, which come from cacao trees in Central and South America. I could imagine it’ll be difficult to measure exactly the effects of chocolate on an individual’s happiness. However, most people (including myself) believe these effects exist.
A few researchers looked at the correlation between a person’s lifestyle and health with the amount of chocolate they like to eat (or not). The study found that those who preferred chocolate as their number one candy showed less frequencies of depression and loneliness had a more optimistic outlook on life. So what would be the cause of this?
I’m always so amazed by the human body- We have our own “uplifting” chemicals that make us feel good and “happy”. These chemicals are called ‘endorphins’, which I’m sure many of you have heard before. According to studies chocolate can stimulate neural pathways in the brain to release these ‘feel-good’ chemicals (endorphins) which result in well you feeling good. I wonder if James Brown was a chocoholic (if you don’t get this, you need to get cultured).
However, it is important to remember that a bar of chocolate a day is probably too much, as you could be over-loading your system with sugar. It’s best to keep your consumption of chocolate to a minimum and when you’re feeling down and out.
Some people have even referred to chocolate as a natural pain-killer, and a survey found that the majority of women asked if they prefer chocolate over sex, responded with a yes. However, it is important to note this is not an anti-depressant or an alternative pain killer, and it sure is not going to replace your non-existent sex-life.
Chocolate cravings can simply be a cause of stress in life, and I actually think when you indulge in a piece of chocolate it takes you back to the first time you experienced that taste, a much simpler and happier time, but what do I know?
There is also a lot if science out there proving that chocolate is not directly linked to your levels of happiness.
But just to add to this, “happiness” is one of those subjective things, and science hates that, err I hate that sometimes, how the heck am I meant to write about chocolate making the whole world a better place, when it has different effects on different people? So this also makes it hard to research and study, but again, I’m sure there are bigger things in this world that really do make you feel good.
So even if science doesn’t tell us what chocolate really does to our stress levels and happiness. Does it really matter? If chocolate really makes you feel good, really, who is gonna stop you? Happy living happy people!