If you are in pain, eat some chocolate and you will feel better. If you don’t have chocolate available, don’t worry. Drinking water will produce the same pain relief effect.
The pleasure you get out of eating chocolate or drinking water works as a natural pain relief. Although only animal trials were carried out, researchers from University of Chicago believe the same response could be induced in humans. According to the study lead, neurology professor Peggy Mason, this response is huge and has nothing to do with hunger or appetite.
In the experiment, the researchers fed rats with some chocolate or gave them water mixed with little sugar as they lit a lightbulb underneath their cages. The lightbulb heated the floor of cages and the rats responded by lifting their paws. If the rats ate chocolate or drank water, their pain response was blunted. They didn’t lift their paws as quickly as they did when they were not eating chocolate or drinking water. Despite that feeling of discomfort, they kept on eating. Dr. Mason explained that eating switches on a system in our brain that controls subconscious responses which ease pain.
As for humans, those responses can contribute to overeating and obesity, according to scientists. Previous research showed that only sugar-containing foods could blunt pain, but the new study found the response was the same regardless of whether the rats ate chocolate or drank water.
The study is published in the Journal of Neuroscience.
Source of the image: flickr.com/photos/wheatfields.