Deakin Communicating Science 2016

EES 200/101

Elixir of Happiness: CHOCOLATE

Think of the last time you had a piece of chocolate. You’re happy, you eat chocolate; sad, you eat chocolate; Stressed, you eat chocolate.  Young or old, chocolate makes everyone happy and it actually does make you feel good.

bigstock-Chocolate-79780456.jpg

For some, it may be a guilty pleasure. But, seeing or even inhaling the sweet aroma of chocolate is just enough to make a chocolate-lover’s heart skip a beat.

But have you ever thought about the reasons behind why chocolate gives you such good feelings?

The real explanation for this is the natural composition of chocolate. As we’re all aware, chocolate comes from cocoa and over 300 naturally occurring chemicals are present in chocolate.Nicaragua-cocoa-market-potential_strict_xxl

Some of these chemicals has an effect on the human brain. The chemicals involve in the release of certain neurotransmitters in the brain.Neurotransmitters are like tiny chemical particles that act as signals to pass messages between two neurons.

How do neurotransmitters and all these chemicals affect our brain? In every way; when you eat chocolate, some of the neurotransmitters that have positive effects on the human body are released.  Here’s what some of the chemicals do to your brain and body.

Phenylethylamine

Sometimes called the “love drug” as it is linked with the initial joy of falling in love.

Promotes emotions such as excitement, nervousness, feelings of attraction.

Acts an anti-depressant.

Tryptophan

An amino acid found in chocolate, that is present in small quantities and involved in the production of serotonin (neurotransmitter) by the brain.

Serotonin acts as a mood-lifter.

Theobromine

The effects are similar to that of caffeine.

Anadamide

Activates dopamine producing receptors. Dopamine gives the feeling of intense happiness and a similar effect to being “high”. The chemical THC  present in marijuana that is responsible for the “high” effect, activates the same receptor as anadamide.

But, you have to eat at least 25 pounds of chocolate to get the same high” effect as marijuana.

Endorphins

Chocolate release endorphins to the brain, resulting in a decrease of stress and pain.

Now that you have also clarified the reason behind your ‘high”-ness and all the other pleasurable feelings you get when you eat chdark-chocolateocolate, there’s more good news.

Scientists have also been able to find out that dark chocolate has a beneficial effect on our health. Higher the concentration of coca, higher the presence of antioxidants

 

in chocolate.

Scientific evidence states that certain antioxidants present in dark chocolate are able to decrease the levels of stress.cutbabychocolatehappiness-f01944a0df98d82c4a450968b2f51793_h

So the next time you eat chocolate, don’t feel so bad.

 

 

References

http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/pr900607v

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091111123612.htm

http://www.amanochocolate.com/cuyagua-favorite-moment/

http://www.sciencefocus.com/blog/why-does-chocolate-make-us-happy

 

Image References

CBS: LEAD, CADMIUM FOUND IN CHOCOLATE – CHECK FOR YOUR BRAND HERE

http://www.confectionerynews.com/Commodities/Nicaragua-cocoa-market-potential

Never be guilty after eating Chocolate ever again !

http://yourbohobible.com/blog/2015/10/29/national-chocolate-day-5-surprising-health-benefits-of-dark-chocolate/

 

 

 

 

 

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4 comments on “Elixir of Happiness: CHOCOLATE

  1. isabelle.johnson
    May 5, 2016

    Coming from someone that 100% has an addiction to chocolate, it’s great to hear that at least something good comes from eating it!

    You had me engaged from the beginning. Not only was I drawn in by your snappy title, but also the layout of the blog was lovely and smooth (just the way I like it, and how I like my chocolate to be).

    Being a science student, I have a passion for physiology. So hearing about the various types of hormones and their effects on the human body was indeed interesting. The fact that you included a couple of links for tricky vocab was handy too, so thank-you!

    In addition to the information you provided about chocolate containing some antioxidants, did you know that it is almost better than drinking a glass of wine? ‘A standard bar of chocolate contains as many anti-oxidants as a glass of red wine’ (Psychology Today, 2010).

    But, after doing some of my own research, I came across lots of other chemicals that don’t have anywhere near the same positive effects as the ones you described…

    According to an online health journal called Physiology Today, the amino acid Tyramine has the ability to induce very powerful amounts of adrenaline. This can result in high blood pressures and heart rates.

    Typically tyramine is metabolized by MAO, however there are other components of chocolate that slow the metabolic rate of tyramine down drastically. Hence, there is the potential for chocolate to act more like an illicit drug in the body, and this amino acids floats around in the blood for longer periods of time, which is also no ideal.

    So, do the pros of eating chocolate actually out way the cons?
    I’ll be keeping an eye out for your future posts!

    Reference:

    Wenks, G. L, 2010, Chocolate: The Good, the Bad and the Angry – Eating chocolate can produce rage, paranoia and anger, Psychology Today, retrieved 3 May 2016,

    Like

  2. jcollinsweb
    May 7, 2016

    Hi! As a massive chocoholic myself, I have to say your article makes me happy just because I don’t feel as bad about the fact the fact that I polished off a packet of MnM’s while writing my own blog. However I think that it is important to acknowledge that while, yes, dark chocolate is beneficial to our health, it is only good when eaten in small doses and when only the raw dark chocolate with a high cocoa percentage is eaten. Even then the quantity eaten must be controlled as it all still contains high amounts of sugar that can lead to obesity. Saying all that I do definitely agree that chocolate is crucial to our diets, even if it just making us happier!
    Reference: http://www.diabetes.co.uk/food/diabetes-and-chocolate.html

    Like

  3. emilyobeirne013
    May 8, 2016

    I loved everything about this article and it’s made me want to go straight to my nearest Woolworths and buy myself a family Cadbury Dairy Milk Crunchy Block and devour the whole thing, although, I have a pretty good idea that’s not what you’re getting out.

    Nevertheless, it’s really encouraging to see an article like this particularly as we find ourselves overcome with information about nutrition and eating natural and ‘super foods’. It’s important to be reminded that even some of our original favourite foods provide us with health benefits.

    Your piece sparked me with some curiosity and I was having a brief look at other benefits of chocolate and it turns out there has been a number of studies that have shown the positive effect it has on our memory and our brains ability to function. Scientists from Harvard Medical School did a study on chocolate’s impact on the prevention of memory decline. I’ll list some links below, that describe the tests they completed and the results they found, it’s pretty fascinating!

    http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/264551.php

    http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/cocoa-sweet-treat-brain-201502057676

    http://hyper.ahajournals.org/content/60/3/794.long

    http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/278702.php

    Like

  4. pamudi
    May 8, 2016

    I LOVE chocolate so you topic immediately caught my eye 😉 Never ever did I think chocolate could do all those things to you haha. It’s nice to know that chocolate actually does have some form of benefit IF eaten in right proportions (unlike me when I down an entire slab of chocolate in 5 seconds). I find this article on https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/chocolate can give an insight on how much of chocolate is actually healthy for you since we all know that too much of anything can be bad for you… I read in a journal that it has anti – obese, and blood pressure reducing effects as well!
    Next time I have chocolate, I won’t feel as bad I would thanks to this post!

    References:

    https://njmonline.nl/getpdf.php?t=i&id=156#page=14

    Like

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