If by any chance, you fall in the category of a conventional ‘nerd who loves chocolates’ and by the term ‘nerd’ I only express my raving fondness, this article might fuel your love for chocolates some more. The truth is the ‘nerdiness’ of people has made the wonderful innovations of science possible and our lives comfortable as we enjoy it these days.
But even if you are someone like me, who usually overcome the educational hurdles merely by scratching the surfaces, the science behind the magnificent things that the chocolates do for us will make you swoon over and, I promise you this – you are not going to get blown over by the science that actually are working for chocolates.
Before going into the details of the ‘sciency’ stuff, let me remind you that the holiday season is already going on, the corona pandemic notwithstanding. And you should also not let your loved ones down by forgetting to give them gifts. If you are one of the 11 million Australian chocolate lovers, why not give it a try to taste the creation of the handmade premium chocolate makers known as Schoko Chocolates? This online premium chocolate maker not only has plenty of premium quality handmade chocolates to choose from, but they can customize the packaging as you would like and deliver to your doorstep as well.
Now let’s get to know the science behind the beautiful things that chocolate does for us.
The Science Behind The Happiness:
The nutty, roasted and chocolaty sensation that we love so much comes from the molecules of a chemical called pyrazines. The roasting process of the cocoa beans results in combining sugars and amino acids and contributes to producing the chemical I have just mentioned. In essence, this chemical process is responsible for the tastes that we get when we taste chocolates. That’s how we get the ‘chocolaty’ taste but what about the ‘chocolates make us happy’ claim made by many? Where does the world renowned ‘feel-good’ feeling come from?
As for a starter, let me enlighten you by telling you the name of the most widely devoured psychoactive drug around the world - 1, 3, 7-trimethylxanthine - which lucky for us chocolate lovers, is abundantly found plenty in cocoa beans. You probably have already known about that psychoactive drug - it is called caffeine. Caffeine works in a funny way – it simply antagonizes the natural neurotransmitter adenosine. As a result of this irritation, there will be an increase in heart-rate and muscle contraction. And though it sounds dramatically menacing, the provocation in the neurotransmitter makes us react in a positive way – we simply feel happiness.
The cacao beans which so fittingly known as the fruit that God gave us is also possessed with a significant presence of theobromine. How is it important for us? Well, the molecules of theobromine seem to work as a stimulant and it stirs the enzymes that are responsible for working up the hormones that tend to make us happy. One of them is serotonin - this natural neurotransmitter has controls over many functions in the brain. Among the functions that are controlled by serotonin is how our mood is going to be and how we respond. Usually our body prepares it for use from the natural amino acid tryptophan. And when we savor chocolates out of love, we are unknowingly amplifying the stock of both serotonin and tryptophan – because both of them are plenty in chocolates. So, it can be said that whenever we eat chocolates, we chemically are enhancing our chances to be happy.
About 20 years ago, another chemical called ‘anandamide’ was discovered in cacao beans. This chemical binds cannabinoid receptors in the brain and they are thought to brighten the mood.
Our beloved chocolates also have Phenylethylamine - another name in a long list of chemical brothers in chocolates. This chemical is found in an insubstantial amount in chocolate and is chemically bonded in such a way that it can stimulate our brains in a similar fashion like synthetic amphetamines can do to us. So, in other words, the small amount is actually beneficial for us. The scientists are also contemplating the idea that our brain produces phenylethylamine when we fall in love. And phenylethylamine responds by creating endorphins – the “feel-good” chemicals of the brain. Probably that’s why it is always a good idea to give chocolates to the person who seems to have complete command over your heart.
Let’s cast our eyes away from molecular chemistry for a second – another amazing feel-good factor of chocolates has got nothing to with chemical enhancements starting from the brain. It rather starts from our tongue – when we put chocolates in our mouth, the melting sensation simply triggers happiness as the fatty triglycerides start breaking down in the warmth of our mouth. That exquisite feeling doesn’t need any chemical enhancing to make us happy.
It seems that the scientists are not yet finished in finding new things that can attest the goodness that chocolates can bring.
But I think, the things we have known so far is enough to fall in love with chocolates. Is it not?