Celebrating Valentine’s Day.. How are the effects of love and chocolate on humans similar?

Celebrating Valentine’s Day.. How are the effects of love and chocolate on humans similar?




Al-Shaima Ahmed Farouk


Published on: Monday, February 12, 2024 – 4:20 PM | Last updated: Monday, February 12, 2024 – 4:20 p.m

Do feelings of love and feelings of eating chocolate have anything in common? This question may be appropriate to ask as Valentine’s Day approaches, February 14, so Esther Sternberg, Ph.D., a psychiatrist, answers the question in one sentence: “Hold the hand of your loved one and eat chocolate to reduce stress and enhance positive energy. The two actions have similar effects.”

In an article as Valentine’s Day approaches, Sternberg discusses the impact of eating chocolate and being close to people we love on mental health and reducing stress, in Psychology Today. She said: “Studies indicate that holding the hand of a loved one or romantic partner reduces the stress response.” It enhances well-being.”

She continued, “People who have many positive social relationships have a lower response to viral infections, and chocolate activates the dopamine and reward areas of the brain and increases the speed of brain processing and alertness.”

She continued, “From the moment we are born, we crave the love and affection of others. It is the stuff from which all great stories are made. Stable and healthy personal relationships enhance our overall well-being. On the other hand, negative relationships are great sources of stress and can harm our physical health. This is one of the basics of understanding psychotherapy.” “.

The late John Cacioppo, a professor of psychophysiology and social psychology at the University of Chicago, asserted decades ago that “holding the hand of a loved one can instantly lower blood pressure and reduce heart rate, all signs of reduced stress and relaxation responses.”

A recent study showed that heart rate variability increased in couples who held each other’s hands after a quarrel, and both partners’ moods improved afterwards, suggesting that “touch” is an important way to reduce stress in couples.

Touch activates the vagus nerve and the relaxation response even in newborns. In the 1990s, psychologist Tiffany Field found that massaging her premature baby reduced his stress behaviors. She continued to develop a method of massage in premature babies that helped the babies grow and gain weight, and improved Their digestive process, all through the effect of touch on the activation of the vagus nerve, which is the longest nerve in the body, originates in the brainstem and extends to the abdomen.

Sheldon Cohen, a professor of psychology at Carnegie Mellon University, and his team also explained that stressed people are more susceptible to common colds, stressing that “the better the loving and positive relationships we enjoy, the less likely we are to contract viral diseases. Conversely, isolation increases “Stress response and the number and severity of viral infections, such as influenza or the common cold.”

A good number of specialists have been interested in trying to prove the importance of love and its impact on our health, including Professor Sean McCann, a hematologist in Dublin, Ireland, who studied a group of bone marrow transplant patients who were routinely isolated in a room for up to 8 weeks. One time, they were prevented from going out or receiving visitors, and their infection rate was very high. To alleviate their isolation, McCann installed liquid crystal display devices (LCD) on the ceilings of the patients’ rooms and asked the patients what images they wanted to see, and it was one of the most frequent responses. These are “photos of their loved ones,” and it turned out that patients who were able to view photos of their loved ones had less anxiety and depression.

“What does all this have to do with chocolate?” Sternberg asks. “It turns out that chocolate activates some of the positive mood areas in the brain that romantic relationships do, such as dopamine reward and the anti-pain endorphin pathways that make you feel happy. Chocolate also contains anandamide, which is a natural cannabinoid in the brain.” Which causes euphoria, and the use of chocolate as a stimulant and medicine for many diseases goes back thousands of years.”

She added: “There is no doubt that the chemical components of chocolate are energizing and can make a person’s heart feel happy and free from anxiety. In many ways, they mimic the physiology of sexual arousal and the feelings of falling in love when consumed in moderate quantities. Dark chocolate – as long as it is not contaminated with heavy metals – “It has many health benefits, in addition to being a stimulant, including reducing inflammation and lowering blood pressure.”

The many chemicals that confer these benefits include: iron, zinc, copper, magnesium, and a high content of flavonoids and other polyphenols – anti-inflammatory antioxidants that lower blood pressure and reduce insulin resistance. Their vascular effects increase blood flow in the brain and improve speed. Brain processing, executive functions and memory, it benefits neuronal growth and survival, suggesting that chocolate may help prevent cognitive decline and ward off dementia.

Sternberg explains that another benefit is linking chocolate with loving relationships. Chocolate has always been considered an ideal gift to confirm one’s love.



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This news article has been translated from the original language to English by WorldsNewsNow.com.

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