Chocolate does lift the spirits – but temporarily

2012-03-19 09:30

Berlin – Chocolate puts a smile on your face. Stressed workers and teenagers in love alike swear by it, and there are sound psychological and physical reasons for this, dietician Silke Restemeyer says.

“It’s true that chocolate raises your spirits,” says Restemeyer, who works for a nutrition association in Germany.

“Chocolate contains a lot of tryptophan and fat. These constituents ensure that increased amounts of the neurotransmitter serotonin are produced in the brain, and this is what causes the happy feelings.”

Tryptophan is an essential amino acid. In addition, many people link positive memories of childhood with consuming chocolate.

“And it produces a warm feeling in the mouth as it melts. This provides temporary distraction from stress and worries,” Restemeyer says.

But the pleasure is brief. “After all, you can’t eat that much chocolate for it to have a sustained beneficial effect – and nor should you,” Restemeyer says, pointing to the high fat and calorie content.

One or two blocks from a bar of chocolate a day are perfectly acceptable to help you through moments of stress.

“But then you should rather do without any other sweets or snacks and even without jam on your toast in the morning,” she says.

Dried fruit or fruit and nut mixtures provide high-energy alternatives for stressful moments at work or in your personal relationships. And you should consider carefully the times that you really need chocolate.

Other responses to those moments when you crave chocolate are taking a short walk, drinking a calming cup of tea or doing relaxation exercises. All of these can help to dispel the blues and lift the mood.

“It would of course be preferable to avoid the stressful situations where possible or to learn to cope better with them internally,” Restemeyer says.

This would turn chocolate into a pleasure to be enjoyed during a quiet moment, rather than something to be used as an antidote to stress.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.