Food

Why Does Chocolate Make You Happy?

There are several things that can affect people’s mood at any particular moment. The environment and the people around you are well-known components that contribute to mood as external stimuli. There is also the chemical balances to consider inside our bodies that can easily sway our mood in one way or another. Many people suffer from clinical depressions due to this sort of cause in the form of chemical imbalances. However, many people also find the opposite effect to be true as well, that certain chemicals can contribute to pleasant or joyful moods. Some people associate these with narcotics or other stimulants while other people find the pleasure in a much simpler (and legal) form: chocolate.

So, what is it exactly that makes chocolate such a mood-booster? Apart from being sweet and somewhat addicting in its own right, chocolate also contains a variety of chemicals in it that activate certain neurotransmitters. For example, one chemical commonly found in chocolate is tryptophan – the same chemical often associated with Thanksgiving Day turkeys and the reason that we generally feel like a good nap after that Thanksgiving Day dinner. The reason being that tryptophan, when introduced into the body, triggers the production and release of serotonin, a neurotransmitter strongly associated with mood balance and reduction in anxiety. This combination of effects is what may give many people such a calming, relaxed feeling after eating turkey – or chocolate, as the topic pertains, should they eat enough of it.

Another contributor within chocolate is a fat compound called anadamide. Anadamide is responsible for the release of dopamine into the human body, which is responsible for  feelings of positive well-being and even a feeling of being “high” similar to the effects of THC in marijuana, although much less intense. This is because anadamide triggers the same neural receptors as marijuana’s THC. Dopamine is also said to be strongly associated with addiction and addictive tendencies through its association with the concepts of reward and reinforcement – possibly one of the many reasons people claim chocolate to be so addicting.

Chocolate also triggers the release of endorphins, which is a body’s natural happiness inducer. Endorphins, like dopamine and serotonin, also contribute to mood balance on top of reducing stress and temporarily decreasing our sensitivity to pain.

Last but not least, chocolate also encourages the release of a neurotransmitter called phenylethylamine, a long word that has also gone by “the love drug.” This is because phenylethylamine is often associated with inducing feelings of happiness and excitement as well as generating a quickened pulse rate: feelings and sensations that are often linked to someone who finds him or herself in love.

Finally, for anyone who has been keeping track, two of these chemicals – serotonin and dopamine – are not only ever-present when consuming chocolate. These two neurotransmitters are but a slew of chemicals also released in heavy doses into the brain immediately after sexual climax. Which might explain why so many people are usually inclined to compare sex with chocolate – anecdotally, at least.

The Science Behind People’s Obsession With Pumpkin Spice

The Pumpkin Spice, which is a drink Starbucks has greatly advertised as a fall favorite has obviously become an obsession for many people. After being away for quite some time, Starbucks is expected to get it back on their menu in a week’s time, with the anticipation being as big as ever. Unlike other Starbucks beverages, this one has its own Twitter account, Instagram page, hashtag and many enthusiastic devotees who cannot help but express their longing for it on all these platforms. In fact, some enthusiasts are so hitched on it that they are demanding it while others have successfully placed orders in stores even before the beverage is officially launched.

Starbucks actually calls this beverage their most popular seasonal beverage. The Pumpkin Spice seems to trigger lots of questions with one of the most common one being whether there is some science behind people’s obsession with this beverage. The truth is that there could be some science and we are here to break it down for you.

1. You Are Biologically Wired To Love The Beverage

Any combination of sugar and fat is a big attraction to many. When the fat and sugar interact in your taste buds, they boost your flavor and make you crave for more of the same. Besides the sugar and fat, Pumpkin spice also has some salt, which besides boosting the beverage’s overall taste acts as a food enhancer to the taste buds and to the brain as well. Obviously, people love tasty things and that is the reason why Pumpkin spice has been an obsession for many.

2. The Brain Associates It With Happy Times

Just think of all the fun rituals associated with autumn. You obviously have some happy thoughts about autumn and all the memories it produces; carving pumpkins, dressing up for the Halloween, picking apples, jumping into leaf piles and coming together for Thanksgiving. The spices associated with the fall season (cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon) help trigger all the happy memories and thoughts to the mind and sipping the Pumpkin Lattice is one way to enjoy these spices. This beverage connotes happy memories.

3. There is a Caffeine Hit

Caffeine is arguably the most commonly used mood-altering substance in the world. Coffee lovers can confirm that caffeine stimulates the nervous system to boost your energy and make you more alert. It can also cause you crave for more of caffeinated drinks, like Pumpkin Spice.

The Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate

At some point, you’ve probably heard that a little bit of chocolate each day can be good for you, and maybe you’ve already searched for some answers as to why. There might be one or two things you didn’t figure out. First of all, you should know that a little bit means just that: a little bit. Anything can be bad in excess, even though a lot of the things we like can be good for us in moderation. You can eat one or two ounces of dark chocolate, and that’s enough to reap the rewards.

Second, you need to know what constitutes “dark” chocolate. You’ll want to try to find something with at least seventy percent cocoa in it, and the more the better. The bigger the percentage, the less sweet the chocolate will taste. Some people like the bitter taste of extra dark chocolate, but it isn’t for everyone.

These are a few of the health benefits you can enjoy from a moderate daily helping of dark chocolate!

It contains high quantities of minerals that your body needs. These include: magnesium, copper, iron, manganese, potassium, zinc, selenium, and phosphorous. The chocolate does contain caffeine and theobromine, but only in small amounts that won’t affect your sleeping cycles.

Perhaps you’ve heard of the dangers of free radicals wandering around in your body. Essentially, free radicals are atoms that require electrons for pairing. While they look for the electrons they need, they can inhibit your DNA from carrying out coded procedures. Your cells die off as a result. To prevent this from happening, your body uses antioxidants to get in the way of any free radical chain reactions that could lead to a lot of damage to your cellular unction. It turns out that dark chocolate may have an even higher number of antioxidants than other “superfoods” like many different kinds of berries, thereby preventing free radicals from harming you.

Dark chocolate can also lower blood pressure, increase HDL (the good kind of cholesterol), and slash your risk of heart disease. In one study of 470 men lasting fifteen years, cardiovascular death was reduced by fifty percent in those who consumed cocoa. Other studies showed that cocoa can likely clean arteries of calcified plaque when consumed several times a week. On top of all this, it can help protect your skin from the harmful rays of the sun.

That reduction in blood pressure and slashed risk of heart disease has another important take away: your brain will get more blood. Because of this, the elderly can expect to experience increased mental function.

Although a lot of the research into dark chocolate consumption over an extended period of time requires more time and complementary studies to ensure accuracy, we do know that there are a number of definitive benefits to eating a moderate amount of dark chocolate several times a week at the least. Just be sure not to overdo it–the high amount of sugar in any kind of chocolate can do a lot of damage if too much is consumed.

3 Foods That Can Make You Happy

Believe it or not, but the foods and beverages that you consume can actually impact your mood and ultimately make you happy. There are a variety of foods that can provide mood-boosting capabilities. Below, we will be going over 3 different foods that can make you happy.

3 Different Foods That Can Make You Happy:

1. Probiotic Rich Foods.

Any food that is rich in probiotics are foods that can make you happy. This is because they contain a lot of good bacteria that can help to improve your gut-brain axis. This is essentially the communication area between the GI tract and the brain.

2. Coffee.

Another common food or beverage that can cause you to become much happier after consumption would be coffee. Research has shown that coffee consumption can actually lead to positive feelings because it provides a lot of energy and sense of pleasure to the drinker. Along with this, when it is sipped leisurely, it can provide a good amount of calmness and tranquility as well. In fact, research has shown that those that consume 2-3 cups per day are actually less likely to develop depression.

3. Dark Chocolate.

This is another common food that can lead to better feelings of happiness. This is because chocolate has a large abundance of antioxidants which can lead to blood vessels relaxing and lower blood pressure. It can also help to improve circulation which can end up not only making you feel better, but healthier as well.

As you can see, there are a variety of different kinds of foods that can make you feel much happier. By getting these different foods into your diet, you should be able to not only feel happier but be happier more often. It doesn’t hurt that all of these foods and beverages happen to be delicious as well!

3 Healthy Foods That Will Lower Stress And Bring You Happiness

Everyone has stress to a degree. In fact, some stress is essential for a healthy and happy life. But, when stress becomes a problem that is when many people seek help for anxiety or depression.

It is no secret that what people eat has a direct link to their mood and stress levels. Here are three foods that will help lower stress and provide essential nutrients.

Dark, Leafy Vegetables

Kale, spinach and Romaine lettuce are some of the best foods for fighting stress. This is because they contain folate. This helps your brain produce mood regulators like dopamine and serotonin. The result is an ability to feel happier and avoid the sadness or anxiety that comes with too much stress. Make sure you buy organic kale from farms located in the United States such as the Salinas Valley in California or from a local farmers market like the famous Dallas Farmer’s Market.

Turkey or Chicken

These lean meats have something called tryptophan in them. It is not a myth that eating a big turkey meal leads to a nap. It is the tryptophan in the turkey that calms the body down. This amino acid is also found in chicken making both lean meats excellent sources of reduced stress in the body.

Yogurt

Yogurt that contains good bacteria helps the digestive tract remain healthy. This is considered a fermented food, and because it regulates that good bacteria it has a direct effect on stress levels and mood in the body.

It is believed that poor bacterial health in the gut not only makes a person more uncomfortable, it also makes them more prone to the negative effects of stress. Eat good bacteria found in fermented foods like yogurt to enhance mood and perception of events.

The best yogurts are those that are made naturally from raw milk and do not contain refined sugars. Note that even commercially available yogurts do have the ability to reduce a person’s stress levels.

And when it doubt, just eat some chocolate. No one can argue that chocolate doesn’t make everyone happy!