Valentine's Day

Chocolate comes out on top as the most euphoric gift for Valentine’s Day

By Anthony Myers

- Last updated on GMT

Valentine's Day: Say it with chocolate - and flowers. Pic: GettyImages
Valentine's Day: Say it with chocolate - and flowers. Pic: GettyImages

Related tags Valentine's day Chocolate

New study by London Metropolitan University reveals higher levels of oxytocin, ‘the love hormone’ were detected amongst those receiving chocolates and flowers.

A new study produced by UK florists Blooom & Wild and the London Metropolitan University has revealed that chocolate induces the biggest increase in levels of the ‘love hormone’ Oxytocin.

The study, released in time for Valentine’s Day, was conducted by scientists at London Metropolitan University by measuring how the brain reacts to receiving certain gifts.

They discovered chocolate had the biggest impact when it came to inducing feelings of love. Recipients of confectionery showed levels of oxytocin increase by 73.36 pg/ml, while those who received flowers were just behind with an increase of 61.89pg/ml. Water ranked last, with a 50.7 pg/ml increase. 

Social bonding

Oxytocin is a hormone found in humans that is closely associated with social bonding and reproduction. It is usually more prevalent amongst individuals who are in a happy, loving relationship and plays a major role in the formation of strong bonds between couples, especially during the initial months of their relationship.

Valentine's study
London Metropolitan University Students testing saliva samples for an increase in Oxytocin

To carry out the experiment, the scientists split 30 volunteers into three groups to receive a gift of flowers, chocolate, or water, taking saliva samples before the gift arrived, 10 minutes after delivery, and finally 40 minutes after receiving the gift.

After the gifting, the saliva samples were tested to detect any changes in hormone levels, including those that are normally associated with love.

The study found no changes in levels of cortisol, due to the fact that participants were not under any stress. Higher levels of oxytocin were detected amongst those receiving chocolates and flowers, while those gifted with water saw the least change.

Dr Una Fairbrother, head of Biosciences at London Metropolitan University said: “Participants in the study were selected randomly and only their age, gender, and date of birth was recorded, in order to maintain anonymity in compliance with data protection and the Human Tissue Authority​.

Desirable gifts

Interestingly, the results show that there was a significant increase in oxytocin after receipt of any gift. Furthermore, within this small cohort, the effect of the more desirable gifts, such as chocolate and flowers, was more pronounced, with chocolate being marginally on top​.

This is not surprising since chocolate induces feelings of wellbeing, including an oxytocin response when eaten, thus anticipation is likely to provoke a similar (if smaller) response​.”

Related topics Ingredients Chocolate Seasonal

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