You’ve had a tough day. Nothing has gone quite according to plan. You’re tired. You’re cross. Self-pity has started to creep into your consciousness.
Suddenly though, you relax. You’ve remembered something. You walk to the cupboard. Reach to the top. And retrieve the bar of chocolate you left there for just such an occasion.
You open it. Inhale with a deep, long breath. Then take your first bite.
It’s bliss. Smooth, luxurious, velvety, decadent. You’re instantly de-stressed. Transported away from the stress and general bone weariness to your snack happy place. Sound familiar?
Here’s the science behind the feeling
When it comes to snacks that make you feel instantly good, chocolate is a winner. And there’s actually a scientific explanation for that heady feeling.
When you eat chocolate, you release phenylethlylaline, a neurotransmitter normally connected with falling in love. It makes you alert, excited, euphoric. It also combines with the dopamine naturally present in your brain to act as an anti-depressant.
And that’s not all. Chocolate contains the chemical tryptophan, which causes the release of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that affects the way you control your mood.
Finally, don’t forget about the theobromine. When combined with the caffeine in chocolate, this stimulant produces a natural high.
All in all, it’s no wonder you feel pretty good after a chocolate fix.
Snacking for long term happiness (and health)
While we actively encourage decadence every now and then, you obviously need to think longer term when it comes to your regular snack buzz.
And you’ll be pleased to know that eating chocolate isn’t the only way to lift your mood. If you’re carefully selective when it comes to snack time, you’ll help to reduce stress, feel more energetic and generally have a healthier, happier lifestyle.
So what should your approach be, if you want to find snacks that are healthy and good mood inducing? Actually, there’s a plethora of options to boost both health and happiness.
It seems fairly obvious to state that your happiness is largely dependent on your state of mind. But what you eat has a huge impact on that.
Healthy mind, happy mind
Your cognitive system is absolutely vital when it comes to how you feel. If your brain function is healthy, then you’ll be more able to regulate your mood. You’ll be more energetic and less prone to depression and illnesses generally.
And certain nutrients – magnesium, folate and zinc, for example – have an incredible effect on the way your brain works.
So which snacks should you choose?
We’ve outlined a few options, to give you a tantalising taste of the benefits of snacks rich in minerals, vitamins and fatty acids.
Enjoying a delicious snack is often a highlight of a busy day. But the improvement in your mood as a result of snacking doesn’t just need to come down to satiated hunger, or even the exquisite taste.
Snacking is obviously about personal choice. Your tastes, job and lifestyle all come into play.
But the nutrients in the snacks you select can have a dramatically positive impact on your happiness too. So take it into consideration when you’re next weighing up the options.
Snacking wisely doesn’t have to be dull. Learn more about the exciting concoctions and combinations our resident development chef, the Nut Expert, is working on at the moment.