Chocoholics out there, you’re going to love this: chocolate has been proven to be beneficial for your brain and body. Chocolate’s numerous health benefits will make you love it even more than before, and better yet, they’ll give you a valid reason to indulge in even more sumptuous cocoa treats. So sit back, relax, and munch on some chocolate as Spoon breaks down the ways your sweet addiction may actually be helping your mind and body.
According to Scientific Learning, chocolate contains over three hundred compounds that positively affect the mind and body. Some of these compounds include:
- Tryptophan: releases serotonin, which creates feelings of relaxation and well-being.
- Xanthine: Increases wakefulness.
- Phenylethylamine: Stimulates the release of dopamine, a chemical that works as a reward system.
- Anandamide: Activates pleasure receptors in your brain.
Based on the Medical Wellness Archives, chocolate also stimulates the release of several neurotransmitters, the brain’s chemical messengers. These neurotransmitters include:
- Endorphins: Produce feelings of well-being.
- Serotonin: The brain’s “happy chemical” that regulates mood, creating feelings of happiness.
- Anandamide: Targets same brain structure as THC, the active ingredient in cannabis, which produces feelings of relaxation.
According to this study by Taubert et al, chocolate contains flavanols, phytochemicals with chemo-preventive and antioxidant abilities, which lower the risk of cancer and reduce hypertension. Flavanols maintain cardiovascular health by decreasing the risk of blood clotting and reducing platelet accumulation. Additionally, flavanols boost blood flow to the brain, enhancing alertness. The antioxidants in the flavanols enrich cellular health since by reducing free radicals, molecules associated with premature aging and cancer.
And if all this information wasn’t enough to convince you of the numerous health benefits of chocolate, (Scientific Learning) claims that chocolate also contains several vital elements, the first of which is magnesium. Magnesium is crucial for metabolic function, protein synthesis, and blood glucose control. Chocolate also contains phosphate, an element involved in the repair of bones and teeth, nerve function, and muscle contractions. And last but not least, chocolate also contains potassium, which helps conduct electricity throughout the body and is important for cell, tissue, and organ function.
So what does all this science stuff mean? Not only does chocolate make you feel more uplifted and relaxed, but it also protects your body and supplies it with important nutrients. Next time you feel sad or tired, go ahead and grab some chocolate – it’s still not exactly health food, but in moderation it’s bound to make you feel better.