Benefits of Eating Chocolate - #1 Food among Women, #2 Food among Men
Chocolate - The number one food craved by women across North America. And it’s second only to pizza among men. Some people swear they're addicted to it. In fact, North Americans spend almost $9 billion (US) per year on chocolate and consume nearly 5.5 kg or 12 pounds per person each year. Is chocolate the an indulgence, or a necessity of life?
Benefits of Eating Chocolate
Benefits of Eating Chocolate - Chocolate has exceptional nutritional qualities, being a high energy food in a small volume. It not only contains carbohydrates, fats, and vegetable proteins, but also has large quantities of potassium and magnesium, some calcium and sodium, and vitamins A1, B1, B2, D, and E.
Benefits of Eating Chocolate - Chocolate contains a number of other substances in small, but effective, quantities:
Theobromine, which stimulates the central nervous system, facilitates muscular exertion, acts as a diuretic and appetite stimulant.
Caffeine, which increases resistance to fatigue, intellectual activity, and watchfulness. An average size chocolate bar contains approximately 6 mg of caffeine, compared to 100-150 mg in a cup of coffee.
Phenylethylamine, which is the chemical released in our bodies when we fall in love and is chemically similar to amphetamines, therefore acting as a psycho-stimulant.
Tryptophan, an essential amino acid that increases the production of serotonin, an anti-depressant and natural stress-reducer. In fact, a decrease in serotonin levels in the brain may trigger cravings for starches, sweet foods and chocolate.
Endorphins, natural opiates that are released by the brain in increased amounts when eating chocolate, thereby elevating one's mood and reducing pain.
Phenols,which are also found in red wine, tea, fruits and vegetables, and may help reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
Catechins, which are antioxidants that may help protect the body against cardiovascular disease and possibly cancer, are found in substantially higher quantities in chocolate than in black tea.
Anandamide, which mimics the effects of marijuana by acting on the same brain receptors, resulting in a very mild "high". Plus, chocolate has two ingredients that inhibit the natural breakdown of anandamide and hence may prolong the feeling of well-being.