"The taste, smell and texture of chocolate stimulate the brain."
Eating chocolate actually releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter to certain areas of the brain: the frontal lobe, hippocampus, and hypothalamus, which makes us feel good. Your brain will not get a big rush of hormones if you eat a few cubes of chocolate. Yet they can play a small Chocolate contains tryptophan, an essential amino acid that stimulates the production of serotonin, a natural antidepressant, theobromine that has been shown to be effective in calming coughs, and the stimulant caffeine. The compound catechin, which can be found in cocoa and green tea, protects the brain from the formation of amyloid plaque, which causes the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Chocolate is not a staple food rich in magnesium, but moderate consumption of dark chocolate can affect overall health and help good nerve and muscle function.
Milk chocolate stimulates taste receptors, which stimulate the production of dopamine, which is the hormone of happiness, so we keep coming back to it because of that feeling.
Other foods, such as leafy greens, figs, avocados and nuts, contain more magnesium, but chocolate is actually quite rich in nutrients, with about 176 mg in a 100g serving. These are data for dark chocolate (above 60% cocoa), and dark chocolate is usually considered a healthier type of chocolate because of the lower amount of sugar per meal.
So, what else does chocolate mean?
Well, it also has a creamy viscosity. When you take it out of the wrapper and bite it a little into your mouth, you will notice that it melts quickly on your tongue, leaving a lasting feeling of smoothness.
Special touch receptors in our languages reveal this texture change, which then encourages a sense of satisfaction.
But what really turned cocoa from a bitter and watery beverage into a snack we adore today was the addition of sugar and fat.
And what is mum being blamed for?
The addition of the right amount of fat and sugar is crucial for our enjoyment of chocolate. Look at the side of a packet of milk chocolate and you will see that it usually contains about 20-25% fat and 40-50% sugar.
In nature, such high levels of sugar and fat can rarely be found, or at least not together.
The only food that contains this ratio is found in nature? Breast milk.
It may seem simple – we love chocolate because it tastes good. But there is more to it than that – and it refers to the fat / carbohydrate balance that has been set from the very beginning of our lives.
You can get a lot of natural sugars from fruit, and a lot of fat can be found in nuts or a tasty piece of salmon, but one of the few places you’ll both find it is in breast milk.
Human breast milk is especially rich in natural sugars, mainly lactose. Approximately 4% of human breast milk is fat, while about 8% is sugar. The formula in which babies are fed, contains a similar ratio of fat to sugar.
Human breast milk contains 3 to 5% fat and 6.9% to 7.2% carbohydrate, which satisfies approximately 1-2 fat-to-carbohydrate ratios.
This ratio, 1 g of fat and 2 g of sugar, is equal to the ratio of fat and sugar as in milk chocolate. And in biscuits, donuts, ice cream. In fact, this particular ratio is reflected in many foods that are hard to resist.
Daily dose of chocolate
Now that you know more about your favorite food, let’s see how much of it is actually enough for us?
A daily dose of 25 g of dark chocolate slightly increases body weight after three months. However, a daily intake of 6 g did not lead to weight gain.
Consumption of 20 g of chocolate with 90% or 55% cocoa content in 30 days, results in lowering blood pressure, especially the consumption of chocolate with 90% cocoa content.
The recommendation in the conclusions of the research is that 20 g of dark chocolate (90%) a day can have a beneficial effect on your arteries.
Chocolate is definitely useful in the right amount, but think about the calories, as well as the sugar and fat content. Especially with milk chocolate. Although milk chocolate has a surprising number of important nutrients, it should still be considered an occasional part of the diet, not something you eat every day. A 42.5g serving of milk chocolate contains 83 milligrams of bone-supporting calcium as well as 1 milligram of iron. The same amount of milk chocolate also provides 164 milligrams of potassium and 1 milligram of zinc. In addition, this serving of milk chocolate delivers 86 international units of vitamin A and 2.5 micrograms of vitamin K.
Most of the available research related to the culture of chocolate consumption, takes into account the frequency above quality, and does not distinguish between dark chocolate and milk chocolate, and includes its various forms. A 2011 survey shows the following:
- 37% lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease
- 31% lower risk of diabetes
- 29% lower risk of stroke
The greatest benefit from chocolate comes from the highest concentration of cocoa, which contains flavonols, a form of flavonoids, and polyphenolic compounds. Flavanols act as antioxidants, scavenging harmful free radicals that are formed during cell metabolism. They can also reduce insulin resistance and make blood vessels more elastic, lowering blood pressure.
- It makes me happy, reduces stress levels
- It contains magnesium, which is usually lacking in women, so women are more likely to reach for chocolate than men.
- Comfort, mood enhancer
- The desire for chocolate is more pronounced in women, especially during premenstrual syndrome.
- Chocolate has powerful psychoactive effects, acting on the brain in drug-like ways like nicotine, opioids and alcohol
- As soon as we eat a piece of chocolate, we tend to crave more.
- Our emotional desire for this food – driven by anxiety, social situations or a bad day – can overwhelm our physiological needs, which means we eat them even when we are not hungry.
- We try to regain the taste and sense of closeness we got from the first food we ever took; breast milk
- Reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease
- Theobromine in chocolate is a substance that acts as a regulator of blood pressure, relaxes (dilates) the blood vessels of the heart (thus ensuring a good blood supply to the heart), activates the excretion of urine, regulates the nervous system and is useful in cases of anemia.
The only chocolate in the world that satisfies all 5 human senses … mmmmmm Hedona chocolate!