Chocolate has been sold over time as a treat that is somehow linked to our feelings and love. Have you ever been given a box of chocolates as a gift, as a compliment, or as an apology? Oh, and don’t forget about occasions like Valentine’s Day, Easter, Christmas Day or New Year’s Day. On these occasions, chocolates are presented in distinctive packaging to entice customers to buy gifts for their loved ones. All this is simply the result of a widespread desire for chocolate.
But did you know that this popular feast is celebrated all over the world on 7th July as “World Chocolate Day”. To this day, chocolate is considered a unique milestone in humanity’s greatest culinary achievement. Chocolate can be tasted and enjoyed on its own. However, it can also be used to enhance and contribute to the creation of the most sumptuous dishes. Some of the most popular chocolate bars are simple. But always, look for one with a higher cocoa content and less sugar.
In fact, chocolate is one of the world’s most-loved foods, according to Research, There are some people who claim they are chocoholics, but is this really a reality? Can chocolate also be classified as an intoxicant? Let’s find out in this article.
What is it about chocolate that has you hooked?
Cocoa, the main ingredient in chocolate, stimulates the production of endorphins and dopamine in the brain, which interact with our brain receptors to make us feel happy. As delicious as it is, it also improves our mood and creates a feeling of joy. It is no surprise that when we are depressed, we crave chocolate.
It also contains a chemical that changes the way the brain works. This results in changes in mood, consciousness, thoughts, feelings, or behavior called psychoactive substances that can help reduce symptoms of depression. And every time you consume chocolate, you get natural ingredients that create feelings like falling in love.
Chocolate contains two key compounds: theobromine and caffeine, which give it a bitter taste and help us increase our serotonin levels (a feel-good chemical that makes you more focused, emotionally secure, happy and calm). creates), which improves our mood. Theobromine, also known as xanthose, is an alkaline compound found primarily in the cacao plant, but also occurs in tea leaves and kola nuts to a lesser level. Whereas, caffeine works by preventing adenosine from binding to the adenosine A1 receptor, therefore increasing the release of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Do you know why women crave chocolate during menstruation? This is due to the fact that when a woman experiences premenstrual syndrome (PMS) their serotonin levels drop and chocolate helps people feel happy by increasing serotonin levels.
As a result, when we taste chocolate, our taste buds transmit a chemical to our brain. Not only does this notify our brain that we have just eaten something sweet, but it also releases hormones associated with reward and pleasure.
The Most Addictive Chocolate and Its Physiological Effects
In addition to the above chemicals, the most addictive chocolate variations tend to be those with the highest levels of sugar and fat. These are commonly found in milk and white chocolate. These two types of chocolate are high in sugar and milk, which prompt our brain to release a multitude of feel-good neurotransmitters such as the neurotransmitter dopamine that is produced in the brain. It serves as a “reward center” and is involved in many physical activities, including memory, locomotion, motivation, mood, and attention.
After a couple of times, your mind realizes that you should enjoy this wonderful treat over and over again. As a result, the next time you see your favorite chocolate bar, your mind will be familiar with that pleasant sensation.
It’s like opening a Ferrero Rocher and remembering how happy you were when you first saw it in its beautiful package. Then, before you even realize it, you’ve started eating from the second box after you’ve finished the first one! You should eat it again tomorrow because it tastes great! Whose fault is it? Only me?
This downward spiral resembles a narcotic effect, where the longer you use it, the more you need that high. Dopamine, which sets off the feel-good state of our brain, is released by both drugs and chocolate, making you both want more. But you’ve never seen a chocoholic in a drug hoard, have you? In fact, chocolate has very low levels of chemicals that can lead to addiction. Maybe we just love it? The world would be so dull without chocolate that I can’t even imagine it. In fact, as I write this, I’m already sad that I don’t have any chocolate.
Options to Satisfy Your Chocolate Cravings
Chocolate is a pure source of joy. It’s intended to be that way, and that’s okay!! The most common form of flavonoid found in cocoa and chocolate is flavanol. Therefore, eating small amounts of chocolate 1 to 2 ounces (30-60 grams) per day has been shown to lower blood pressure and prevent blood clotting, lower cholesterol, reduce inflammation and reduce insulin sensitivity.
However, if your cravings are too strong for chocolate, eat a balanced diet rich in lean protein, fruits, vegetables and whole grains to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Try Fresh Fruit for Sugar
If you want something really sweet, a piece of fruit is the best option. Fruit naturally contains fiber, which aids in the gradual absorption of sugar, as well as various vitamins and minerals. If you have a strong sugar appetite, reach for sweet fruits like grapes, mangoes, cherries, or pears.
be rich in protein
Hunger disguised as a craving for chocolate indicates that you need a food that will satisfy you and keep you satiated for a longer period of time. Protein-rich foods, which take longer to digest than other nutrients, include Greek yogurt, beef jerky, hard-boiled eggs, peanut butter, tuna, cheese and protein bars.
Choose Alternative, Healthy Snacks
If you deny yourself the craving over and over again, you risk overeating later. Give in to something healthier and with fewer calories than most chocolate snacks, and watch your portions:
Nut or trail mix sprinkles
- Air-popped Popcorn with a Touch of Butter and Salt
- Nut Butter with Apple or Celery Slices
- Hummus and Vegetables
- a couple of olives
- toast with avocado
Get out of a slump with caffeinated beverages
Craving chocolate may indicate that you need an energy boost. If you’re not hungry, try a caffeinated drink. But stick to low-calorie beverages. A cup of black coffee or a cup of hot black tea can sate without adding extra calories. If you don’t like your drink pure, a little low-fat creamer will suffice.
Choose High Magnesium Foods
Cravings for specific foods may indicate a deficiency of micro or macronutrients. Cravings for chocolate, in particular, can be a sign of a magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is a mineral that is essential for about 300 enzymatic activities in the body. Because magnesium is required for proper use of vitamin D, it can contribute to increased sweet cravings or cause muscle cramps, fatigue, somnolence, high blood pressure and even osteoporosis.
Since chocolate is not strictly an addictive substance, it can have different effects on people suffering from eating disorders. Also, if used improperly, anything can be considered a narcotic. Dark chocolate is the best way to reap the health benefits of chocolate. The best option should be at least 70%, but the darker the better!
The trick, as always, is moderation and double-check the label! You’re not alone in eating your chocolate, and there are healthier options. As a result, eating chocolate can be a fast cure for nervous and stressful days, but it is not a long-term solution. If you see signs of an unhealthy relationship with chocolate, you can seek help from one of our dietitians and nutritionists.
Additionally, discover some delicious and healthy chocolate recipes like “Healthy Strawberry Chocolate Mousse”.
So what are your thoughts? Do you consider yourself a choco buff? Let us know in the comments section below.