Have you ever noticed how chocolate makes you feel? Like some kind of drug, if you’re not aware of it, then you must be feeling blue! Chocolate has a habit of making us happy. There’s no arguing with that. Chocolate, for some reason, is just a really good mood elevator.
Before we talk about the science behind why chocolate makes you happy, there’s something to consider first. Chocolate, like many other substances, has a natural chemical (theobromine) which occurs naturally in chocolate. This chemical interacts with serotonin, a chemical in our bodies that can cause a mood change in the same way that certain medications can. Serotonin and theobromine are closely related and they work hand-in-hand. The more theobromine there is in the chocolate, the more serotonin there will be and the happier the person will feel.
Now, let’s look at the science behind this phenomenon. Theobromine is found in varying amounts in different kinds of chocolate. Some contain far more than others. Those that contain the highest amount of the chemical have been linked to increased happiness. But this isn’t the only thing that can trigger happiness; there’s also the feel-good chemicals L-tryptophan and gamma-aminobutyric acid in chocolate that also affect mood.
Gamma-aminobutryric acid, or GABA, is responsible for our deep breaths when we’re relaxed. Because it’s so readily available in caffeine free chocolate, it’s been suggested that people who eat a lot of dark chocolate may benefit from increasing their GABA levels. Why? Because, as it’s another happy chemical, it can bring about a nice state of relaxation.
What if I said there were other, larger, less accessible happy chemicals? Well, there are. L-tryptophan, also known as L-tryptophan, is the most plentiful of these chemicals. It helps us get into a relaxed mental state. If you lack L-tryptophan in your diet, you may crave sweets in large quantities to bring you back down to earth.
Lastly, tryptophan is another neurotransmitter that is relatively easy to come by. If you make do with less, you’ll crave sweets in greater amounts. L-tryptophan has a lowidine like impact on our brains compared to tryptophan, which makes it a better option if you want to see a difference. As with L-tryptophan, tryptophan is available in small quantities in dairy products and meat.
So, what does this all mean to you? To put it simply, if you want to enjoy a happier life, you should be eating plenty of dark chocolate and drinking lots of water. If you’re not already doing so, try it!
Dark chocolate and drinking water will help you to feel better, but there’s much more to it than that. Your diet plays a huge role and there are other foods that cause your mood to rise. Try out some of these foods to see if you can pick up on any new mood elevation techniques that you’ve never tried before.
You’ve probably heard about the effect that caffeine has on people’s moods. If you have trouble sleeping at night or find yourself waking up in the middle of the night and wanting to go back to sleep, your brain needs a boost. Theobromine is the chemical that caffeine gives to our brains. When we consume it, our brains send a message to our bodies that it’s time for a break from the stimulants in our systems. That’s why eating a cup or two of coffee can give you a jump start in your day.
If you have trouble sleeping or staying awake, your body’s need for another source of energy comes from the amino acids in your food. Eating protein keeps your metabolism running smoothly and helps you to feel energetic throughout the day. Eggs are also a great source of protein and when combined with magnesium, can elevate your mood as well. If you add egg yolks to your diet, you can get twice the amount of protein and the benefits of magnesium that you would from eating an egg.
High blood sugar is always a problem when you’re trying to maintain a healthy, balanced diet. It causes the brain to release chemicals that make us feel irritable, anxious, or even depressed. By eating foods that elevate your mood and reduce your blood sugar levels, you can reduce or eliminate these mood-dispiring side effects.
Last but not least, chocolate contains a chemical called tryptophan. This is an amino acid that the brain uses for serotonin production. When you eat foods that contain tryptophan, your brain receives an influx of this neurotransmitter. This makes you happier and more relaxed.