Women crave it; men hoard it. Chocolate is undoubtedly one of the most popular treats in the world. But do you ever question why we love it so much? Here is the science behind why we can’t resist its luscious taste, and why we shouldn’t give it up — dieting or not.
Presence of Opioids
It’s no wonder the brokenhearted turn to chocolate for comfort. According to a study done at the University of Michigan, chocolate contains chemicals called opioids, which serve to dull pain and give a feeling of relief to people who ingest them. According to the same study, the consumption of chocolate results in producing natural opiates in their brain, which soothes nerve activity and triggers a relaxing sensation.
Presence of Stimulants
Chocolate naturally contains “uppers” such as caffeine, sugars, and phenylethylamine. These substances make your heart pound a little harder, make your breathing a little deeper, and give you a slight feeling of alertness. The effect is not dramatic enough to make you uncomfortably jittery, but it is mild enough to produce a pleasant “high,” which is often equated to the feeling of falling in love.
Addicting Melt-In-Your-Mouth Sensation
The cocoa butter in chocolate gives it an incredibly rich and creamy consistency that transmits the cocoa’s flavor perfectly. Aside from its addicting taste, it also has a melting point close to the average human body temperature. This sensation gives you that melt-in-your-mouth feeling every time you eat a piece of chocolate. Chocolate lovers often describe this feeling as a genuine moment of ecstasy.
Kisses and Chocolate
According to a study by psychologist David Lewis, slowly dissolving chocolate in your mouth causes an increase in brain activity and heart rate, the same effect a passionate kiss gives you. Only, the effects of chocolate last four times longer.
Good for Your Health
Studies suggest that chocolate, especially dark cocoa, contains chemicals that lower the risk of certain cancers and heart disease. Flavonoids and antioxidants found in dark chocolate have been shown to make a difference in cardiovascular health. More recently, tea was considered the primary source of these chemicals. Today, scientists recommend having a serving of chocolate with your tea to reap the full benefits of the life-lengthening compounds. Avoid having milk with your dark chocolate as it may cancel out the positive effects of cocoa. Milk is an excellent source of protein and calcium, but when served alongside chocolate, it may prevent nutrients from being fully absorbed by the body.
Great in Moderation
Chocolate can get addicting, so remember not to overindulge. An excessive amount of chocolate is high in fat and sugar, which is why it’s recommended to keep consumption in moderation. The next time you think about cutting back on calories, think twice before giving up chocolate. After all, science suggests that it can extend your lifespan. This rich, velvety treat not only tastes amazing, but it also has tremendous benefits for your health.