Do you ever feel like the only thing that will boost your mood is a big bar of chocolate? I think we all do at some point. Chocolate is known for being comfort food, the snack we reach for on the good and bad days.
Chocolate is an obvious choice for comfort food because of its addictive flavour and texture, but there are valid reasons why we crave chocolate.
These reasons can be:
- Restricting yourself
- Lack of caffeine
- Lack of magnesium
- Sugar/fatty cravings
All of the above are legitimate reasons as to why we look for chocolate as comfort food. Craving and therefore eating chocolate can signify that you are missing something from your diet, such as magnesium. Therefore, seeking some chocolate as a method of gaining comfort could be a psychological reaction to needing to make up for something lacking. Eating chocolate at this moment provides a comforting feeling and feeds the craving you had, and satisfies that something that was missing from your diet.
Is chocolate good for us?
Although chocolate is renowned as an unhealthy food option, it can be argued that consuming small amounts of chocolate (particularly dark chocolate) could be good for us. However, we’re living in a day and age where body image and being healthy is a popular trend, in which people think they need to look a certain way to be accepted. Because of this, people are limiting their intake of chocolate and replacing it with healthier food options.
Getting the balance right
Eliminating chocolate from their diet (especially if they’ve been a big chocolate lover before) and restricting themselves, they may trigger a form of withdrawal that can also start a craving. This craving could settle from something else, of course, but more often than not, the individual will then seek out some chocolate to curb the cravings and therefore, they begin to feel better. So the moral of the story is to keep a balanced diet of good healthy foods with a small amount of naughty chocolate.
Another reason why people look for chocolate as comfort food is because they may have grown up believing that having chocolate, or chocolate-based foods, is a treat. Therefore, people often associate chocolate as being a good thing that can give them comfort.
Most of you will probably have heard of the term ‘Emotional Eating’ when somebody eats to make themselves feel better. Emotional eaters often seek out comforting foods such as chocolate to make themselves feel better.
Paired with people seeking out food to help alleviate stress proves that chocolate can act as a mild anti-depressant. Scientifically, chocolate does make us happy, and this is due to the addition of ingredients that release serotonin which has a mood-enhancing effect.
So, it’s true what they say, chocolate makes you happy, and this is why we are so often guilty of using it as a form of comfort!