Reaching for a chocolate bar to cheer us up may be a more effective remedy than previously thought.

Professor Gordon Parker of the University of New South Wales has published a study in the American Journal of Psychiatry backing theories that chocolate could be justified in marketing itself as a 'feel-good' food.

Parker claims that the carbohydrates and sugar in chocolate flood the brain with uplifting hormones, or endorphins in the body, that mirror the action of a particular class of anti-depressant drugs known as SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors). They also release peptides from the gut and brain, which have an anti-depressant effect and contain a chemical called L-tryptophan, which is similar to an SSRI drug, explained the Daily Telegraph.

Parker's study suggests that depressed people who eat chocolate could actually be self-medicating.