Pursuing pleasure also results in the production of serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin and endorphins—happy hormones which can be attained through engaging activities that activate these respective chemicals in our body.
Dopamine, especially, is the main reason we seek out pleasure; providing ‘feel-good’ motivational molecules to relieve stress and give satisfaction, it can be boosted knowingly and unknowingly. This particular hormone and neurotransmitter stimulates the brain’s pleasure and rewards the system that drives motivation, desire and cravings when working towards an incentivised goal; it’s what keeps you going when the going gets tough. Remember stuffing that comforting tub of ice cream after a bad day or chugging a couple of celebratory tipples after clinching a difficult goal? There you go! In addition, foodies take pleasure in hunting for the best-prepared variant of a certain dish; they are motivated by flavours.
According to Heinz Breer’s medical article ‘The sense of smell: reception of flavours’, the intake of food and drink stimulates sensory inputs like taste, smell and stomach distension that are programmed to cause pleasure and satiety. Sweet and savoury are well-liked while bitter and sour notes often repulse.
In another medical article ‘Flavours: the pleasure principle’, John Prescott explains that such food ‘wanting’ reflects a drive to consume, which can be observed in eating that is independent of energy needs.
Durian or the ‘king of fruits’ should be beloved by everyone because of its revered title, right? Those who adore it will make a beeline every durian season and pay good money for the cream of the crop despite its reported ‘heaty’ properties; on the other hand, its distinctive scent and rich texture is revolting to some. Truffle is another known delicacy irresistible to connoisseurs who are attracted to its specific umami aroma; although it’s priced at a premium for its rarity, some describe truffle as “petroleum-like” and are put off by its strong scent.
Hence, not everyone can get a high from these one-of-a-kind foods due to personal preferences. It is often a road less taken that can lead to small and lasting pleasures.