Are you feeling a bit happier today after maybe scoring a lovely personalized chocolate bar during what may have been the chocolatiest day of the year yesterday? If you associate consuming chocolate with a better mood, you're not alone. The trope of happiness-inducing chocolate is well-entrenched in pop-culture- and example being the use of chocolate as a remedy against the guards of Azkaban (the wizard's prison) in the Harry Potter series. (JK Rowling has stated the creatures, known as Dementors, symbolize depression.)
Scientists still differ on their opinion as to whether the idea springs more from the chemical composition of chocolate, or whether the smooth texture and comforting taste of chocolate are more influential on chocolate's mood boosting effects:
But while chocolate has been proven to have some health benefits — flavonoids, for instance, are vitamin-like substances that are good for your heart — there are two schools of thought on the reason so many of us view it as a temporary escape... One points to the fact that eating chocolate stimulates the brain's production of opioids, raising levels of dopamine, which in turn triggers a neurological reward response. The other simply believes that chocolate is a comforting treat that fills the mouth with a flavor and texture you can't get from, say, a stick of celery.