How Candy Brings You Happiness

Candy Makes Everything Better – Really!

You may feel as if candy makes everything better, but now we have the science to back it up. Candy happiness is a real thing, and there are real health benefits of candy.

Read on to learn how candy is an essential part of our lives and a key component to happiness — and why you can feel good about it!

candy-brings-you-happiness

Candy and Good Times Go Hand in Hand

Candy and sugar are directly linked to some of our most positive memories and life events. On birthdays, we enjoy cake. The Easter bunny brings us baskets of sugary goodness. Halloween is all about the treats. Everyone goes out for ice cream after the big game. What would a beach trip be without ice cream, salt water taffy and caramel corn?  These are just a few of the times when candy and sweet treats are a celebratory part of our lives.

By playing such an integral role in our happiest times, candy and sugar have been linked in our brains to celebration. We naturally associate candy with positivity, such as joy, comfort, love, friendship and family. Even when we’re not celebrating anything, eating a piece of candy releases those feel-good brain chemicals that bring us a much-needed moment of happiness in our otherwise chaotic lives.

The Science Behind the Sugar High

While some skeptics don’t believe in the sugar high, parents everywhere beg to differ. Today’s science also shows that candy and sugar have a real effect on the brain, too.

When you eat candy, the sugar goes into your stomach where it quickly enters the bloodstream. Once in your bloodstream, it doesn’t take long to reach your brain. In your brain, it works its magic.

While your brain only accounts for 2 percent of your body weight, it uses 50 percent of the sugar energy in your body. Your brain loves sugar! Why does it love sugar? Because sugar releases dopamine in the nucleus accumbens, the part of your brain linked to reward, novelty and motivation. Dopamine is an important neurotransmitter that plays a key role in controlling emotional responses. In fact, not only does it help us visualize the rewards, but it also enables us to take the action we need to achieve the reward.

In addition to releasing dopamine in the brain, sugar also releases endogenous opioids. These are responsible for the wonderful surge of pleasure you feel when you eat a piece of candy.

The Benefits Aren’t Just Psychological!

Feeling happy, relaxed and motivated isn’t the only benefit of eating candy. Candy has some physical health benefits as well, including:

  • Decreasing your risk of stroke and heart attack — Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidant flavonoids, which are healthy for your heart. Regularly eating this rich treat can decrease your risk of stroke and heart attack by 39 percent. Another study showed eating a candy bar a week reduced the risk of dying from stroke by 46 percent.
  • Slowing cancer growth — Cocoa beans contain a chemical called GECGC, which can help your body slow down the fastest-growing types of cancer, including cervical, colon and leukemia. Not only does it slow down cancer’s growth, it also speeds up its destruction.
  • Helping you live longer — Science shows if you eat candy at least a few times a month, you’ll live longer than those who didn’t eat any candy. What’s in candy that’s helping us live longer? Scientists believe we can thank the antioxidant phenol and the chocolate ingredient cacao. Also found in red wine, phenol absorbs free radicals. Left unchecked, these free radicals can cause serious damage to your body. Cacao reduces the amount of low-density lipoprotein — the good cholesterol — that your body oxidizes. It also enhances your immune function.

When your body is healthier, you’re happier overall.

It’s Just Plain Delicious

Candy is packed full of body and mind benefits — and it also just takes tastes good. When you eat candy, it’s an enjoyable flavor, one that can bring you happiness. The bottom line is candy does wonders for your mind, body and mood!