There are hundreds of natural chemicals in chocolate, and they affect our brains, as they emit neurotransmitters. These can affect our feelings and make us feel happy. The raw, unprocessed beans from the cacao tree are one of a number of so-called ‘superfoods’, so they belong in the same category as the humble broccoli florets that many children hate.
Cacao beans contain potent antioxidants more than can be found in green tea or red wine. Antioxidants are, quite simply, compounds, either man-made, or in this case, natural, which work to prevent, or delay oxidization and so they help combat the aging process and free radicals in the body, which can cause cancer.
Researchers believe that the antioxidants found in cacao beans can help to lower the risks of a stroke, lower blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular disease, as well as preventing, or at least delaying prostate cancer.
Dark chocolate rather than milk chocolate is better for our health because it contains more of the cocoa bean than white chocolate. Researchers believe that the flavanols present in dark chocolate stimulate the endothelium (the arteries lining), thus producing nitric oxide (NO3). This, in turn, transmits messages to the arteries, instructing them to relax, so reducing blood pressure.
A hundred gram bar of dark chocolate containing 70-85% of cocoa has various minerals in it, including selenium which is a proven mood enhancer. It has 98% of the recommended daily dose of manganese, 67% of the recommended dose of iron, 58% of the recommended dose of magnesium, 89% of the recommended dose of copper and a huge 98% of manganese. It also has zinc, phosphorus, and potassium it. In other words, dark chocolate is good for us! Another plus point is that it contains less sugar than milk chocolate.
Caffeine and theobromine are also to be found in dark chocolate, but the small amounts of these stimulants are extremely unlikely to keep you awake at night! You can’t compare eating dark chocolate to drinking coffee with caffeine in it.
What’s the connection between chocolate and happiness? Well, if you have never experienced the pleasurable feeling you get when you eat chocolate, perhaps you should try eating a small amount of dark chocolate. The smooth texture and delightful taste, coupled with the feeling of well-being you get will probably make you a complete chocolate fan!