Chocolate has been called the “ food of the gods ,” and has been dated back as far as Mesoamerica to civilizations such as the Olmecs. Cacao has been used to make alcohol, as a currency by the Aztecs, and as an aphrodisiac. What is it about this magical bean that has everyone so enamored?
It Affects the Brain
Chocolate makes people feel happy because of naturally-occurring chemicals that can affect the human brain such as Phenylethylamine and tryptophan. Phenylethylamine has been called the “love drug” because it quickens the pulse rate and makes you happy while tryptophan releases serotonin and lifts the mood. No wonder we can’t get enough!
Magnesium is the second most abundant element inside human cells and is necessary to produce energy and regulate enzyme activity and other important cellular activities. Chocolate contains 41mg of magnesium per ounce, and could be the reason you are craving it. This does not mean that you should start overindulging and eating two candy bars a day to get your daily requirements (approximately 320mg). Keep in mind, most chocolate bars are loaded with sugar and other additives that would be counterproductive, so you may want to stick with leafy vegetables, avocado, bananas, seeds, etc. as your main source.
Keeps the Body Strong
Antioxidants help prevent or stop cell damage caused by free radicals in the environment. One type of antioxidant is “ flavonol , which can be found in chocolate. Flavonols reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, hypertension, and is reported to increase endurance in mice. It is unlikely that you will receive benefits if you eat milk chocolate, as manufacturers are only required to have 10 percent cocoa solids. Dark chocolate is your best bet, and the higher percentage of cocoa the better.