The properties of chocolate are very different. We often reach for it because of its incredible taste or simply just to improve our mood. So how exactly does the chocolate improve our bad mood? It’s not only about its taste, but above all the chemical composition of chocolate. Salutary effects on human well-being are mainly influenced by tryptophan, glucose, caffeine, theobromine and magnesium ions – all of them are contained in chocolate.
The Magic Effects of Chocolate
Chocolate contains a truly magical ingredient – tryptophan, which is converted into serotonin in our brain. Then the serotonin, a.k.a. The Happiness Hormone, takes part in a number of processes in our body. It’s one of the most important neurotransmitters in the central nervous system. The blood glucose level is also increased after eating chocolate. In addition, “under the influence” of chocolate, the level of endorphins are increased. Our mood and wellbeing improves, and all sorrows, bad experiences or temporary depression pass by. The effects might be mild, but everyone can feel them.
Chocolate is also known as one of the most popular aphrodisiacs. It’s connected with the process of supplying glucose, caffeine, theobromine and phenylethylamine to the body. The latter is the so-called “love hormone”. Thanks to the caffeine and theobromine the blood vessels narrow, which increases blood pressure, stimulates the body and improves concentration. You don’t feel any fatigue or sluggishness. Increasing the level of glucose causes the body to get a large amount of calories, and thus energy to act. Think of it like of fuel for your car. Bitter chocolate has the highest concentration of all these active ingredients, which is why it’s the most recommended if you want to feel the magic properties of chocolate.
It’s also important to mention that chocolate contains a lot of magnesium ions. Magnesium is associated with many processes that take place in the body. It’s essential for proper work of muscles, especially the cardiac muscles, and is also responsible for proper neuromuscular excitability. Magnesium improves concentration, which is why, like chocolate, it’s often taken by students during studying for exams or in other cases when the concentration matters.
Chocolate Plate or Maybe Something Else?
Chocolate can be taken in various forms. There are a lot of different types of chocolate – drinking chocolate, bitter chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate, filled chocolate and their mutual modifications. Chocolate can be eaten in its simplest form – the chocolate plate. However, nowadays there are a number of different chocolate products such as chocolate bars, candies, wafers, etc., which can be made from chocolate. But do they all have the same effect?
Well, no. All of them are certainly very tasty, but the biggest content of active substances has the most common plate of bitter chocolate. When buying a plate of chocolate or other food products with chocolate, it’s worth paying attention to their composition. There are so-called chocolate-like products on the market. This is not real chocolate! It may look similar, but the taste and properties aren’t associated with the real chocolate. Although their price is often much lower, it’s worth considering what’s more important for you – the price or good taste and quality.
Bitter Chocolate and Visual Acuity
Several cubes of bitter chocolate can improve visual acuity – such conclusions were reached by scientists from the Rosenberg School of Optometry – University of the Incarnate Word
in San Antonio, Texas, USA.
The study involved 30 participants (9 men and 21 women, mean age -26 years) without any pathological eye disease. Each participant consumed dark and light-brown chocolate. It turned out that both contrast and visual acuity were much higher two hours after dark chocolate was consumed compared to its lighter sister.
This may be thanks to the effects of flavanols contained in dark chocolate – flavanols can quickly improve the blood flow to the nervous system, which improves visual acuity and the ability to see low-contrast and high-contrast targets.
The Good and the Bad Chocolate
In the case of chocolate, it’s essential to distinguish between natural cocoa, chocolate-based products a, d highly processed chocolate products. The latter cocontains lot of sugar – which consumed in large quantities may contribute to the development of obesity, which in turn increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. So it’s worth to eat bitter chocolate with a high cocoa content instead of the “chocolate products”. Also, remember that the most important thing is moderation! After all, the dosage makes the poison.
To sum up, chocolate is one of the simplest ways to feel good, to improve your mood, to take a portion of energy, to stimulate your body to act, and – which is extremely important – chocolate has an incredible taste!