Many people can't get enough of chocolate truffles, ice cream and brownies, but is this delectable concoction truly addictive? There has been an ample amount of research done over the years to solve this mystery, and experts have been able to derive a few facts about the delicious sweet known as chocolate.
Chocolate and the Brain
Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania reports that chocolate contains bioactive agents that are known to stimulate serotonin production in the brain. Specifically, chocolate has tryptophan in it, which is an essential amino acid. It can increase the levels of serotonin in the body and stimulate mood, as well as create a relaxing sensation.
To top this off, a study completed by Doniele Piomelli in the mid-1990s found that chocolate can prolong pleasurable sensations. However, the effect of these compounds purely depends on how much anandamide is already in the bloodstream prior to eating chocolate. Anandamide is a neurotransmitter within the body that can provide bliss-like sensations.
Whether you like chocolate bark, cake or cookies, this is good news if you're looking for a way to relieve stress and live a happier life!
Uncovering Chocolate Addiction
PsychCentral.com states that chocolate does appear to create abnormal psychiological sensations and behaviors, but a true "addiction" has never been discovered. A study conducted by researchers at the University of Tampere in Finland found that those who claimed to be chocolate "addicts" did seem to salivate more in its presence, but little research proves an addiction.
Chocolate and Emotions
If you feel good after reading about the lack of evidence linking the delicious concoction to addiction, you might feel even better after sinking your teeth into a chocolate bar. A study conducted by researchers at the Department of Psychology at the University of Würzburg looked at the effects of eating an apple in contrast to a piece of chocolate. Both provided a surge in mood and reduced hunger, but the stimulating effects of chocolate were far stronger than those of the apple.
TLC reports that the sheer feeling of satisfaction and instant gratification as a result of eating chocolate is also enough to support claims that it can impact mood. For the most part, people feel happier after they take a bite into a delicious chocolate brownie or truffle - and is there really any question as to why? This delicious sweet is loved by children and adults alike, and it can be incorporated into almost any dish.