We already know how special enjoying a piece of good chocolate is  –
from the first look at the packaging, to the moment you touch its smooth shiny surface to hearing the reassuring snap of quality that it makes, releasing the amazing aromas and then finally as you take the first bite to the way it coats your taste buds in a rich, velvety layer of pure flavour filling your olfactory with some of the 1500 aromas it connecting you to the rain forest it was grown in and the farmers who nurtured it ready for the artisan chocolatier to craft it into beautiful chocolate . And then when that’s finished, 

Can you stop at one piece?

If not, thats understandable ,there are lots of reasons why we crave chocolate, and why eating it can make us a feel a particular way. the Olmecs knew this as did Casanova.

It the affect that chocolate has on the brain, the heart, and our overall emotional well-being that explains why we enjoy eating chocolate as much as we do. this led me to want learn more about the ” feel good” chemicals found in chocolate.

Chocolate and Endorphins

Neurotransmitters are molecules that transmit signals between neurons. The amounts of particular neurotransmitters we have at any given time can have an impact on our mood. neurotransmitters such as endorphins and other opiates help to reduce stress and can lead to feelings of euphoria.

We all readily accept that regular exercises releases endorphins in the brain which make us feel good, which is why some people say they are addicted to the gym.

So where does chocolate come into this Researchers found that cocoa, causes the brain to release endorphins (” feel good” chemicals").

But for maximum endorphin release, we need to favour dark chocolate over its milk white and ruby chocolate.

Pure cocoa taste bitter, but often the chocolate we usually buy is mixed with milk and sugar to make it less bitter. The more milk and sugar we add, the less cocoa the chocolate contains.

To get the endorphins releasing, we should choose dark chocolate. And remember, more cocoa = more good stuff.

Endorphins are not the only brain chemicals linked to chocolate consumption.

Together with dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin these four neurotransmitters form the quartet that is responsible for our happiness and they are all released when we eat chocolate.

Chocolate contains quite a few mood-boosting ingredients, including tryptophan, which stimulates the mood-boosting hormone serotonin, and a compound called anandamide, which can provide a sense of well-being as it binds to the dopamine receptors in the brain,

Chocolate is a good source of magnesium, which is thought to reduce stress by suppressing the release of the stress hormone cortisol, 

Chocolate can also help boost your memory. studies have concluded that people who had a higher flavanol intake show better signs of memory retention.

Studies have also suggested that dark chocolate may protect against high blood pressure and diabetes,

However this doesn’t mean we can eat as much as we like, we can get too much of a good thing!.

It just means that, like many of life’s pleasures, chocolate – consumed in moderation – could be good for us.

 

 

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