A Chemical Matter: Why Chocolate Makes Us Happy

September 3, 2018

 

You’ve seen it in movies. A woman vegging out on the sofa, fresh out of a breakup, stuffing her face with chocolate. The message sent? Chocolate makes us feel better. Chocolate makes us feel good. And there is actual science behind this cause of happiness that goes beyond savouring chocolate’s delicious taste!

 

 

Happiness is chemical


Chocolate is a concoction of numerous chemicals and compounds that have been shown to give pleasure to the brain and body alike. Indeed, cocoa contains small amounts of some stimulants that are found in various legal drugs, and our team at Malta Chocolate Factory shares them with you!

 

 

Phenylethylamine


Well that’s a mouthful. 


Despite the small quantity present in chocolate, the structure of this naturally occurring substance is closely related to synthetic amphetamines, which are stimulants. Phenylethylamine acts as an antidepressant by combining with dopamine, and also promotes feelings of attraction and excitement, closely associated with the feeling we get when we fall in love. No wonder chocolate’s a Valentine’s day favourite!

 

 

Theobromine


There is also a significant presence of theobromine in chocolate. This chemical works alongside caffeine to stimulate the characteristic ‘high’, similar to that of cannabis. But before you get too excited, you would have to ingest more than 25 pounds of chocolate in one sitting to get that kind of high. Theobromine produces a relaxing and stress-relieving effect, so make sure to get your chocolate fix!

 

 

Tryptophan


Found in small quantities in chocolate, this amino acid is used by the brain to produce serotonin, the neurotransmitter that produces feelings of happiness.

 

 

Happiness in a bar


The taste of chocolate comes from a mixture of chemicals and the roasting process, in which sugars and amino acids combine. While the small amounts of each individual chemical in chocolate may not have profound or long-lasting effects on the brain, the combination of all of them packaged together in a handy bar is a winning combination.

 

When we indulge in something sweet, a chemical message is sent to our brain that triggers the release of chemicals associated with reward and pleasure. And who can forget the last feel-good factor: the melt-in-your-mouth sensation!

 

 

Malta Chocolate Factory


We offer happiness in the form of a bar, a drink, and a chocolate fountain! Don’t miss out on the opportunity to witness chocolate making in Malta first-hand! We are the only chocolate factory in Malta that produces chocolate in a kitchen with a viewing window, so you can follow the artisan process of making chocolate or even get involved through one of our events! 

 

Come over to our shop/cafeteria in Bugibba and follow us on Facebook for more updates!
 

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