What does Chocolate do to the Brain?
Neuroscientists have investigated the effects which chocolate has on the brain. Chocolate contains around 380 different chemicals. Eating this popular treat is well known to produce feelings of contentment and happiness. This is something which some of us who love to eat chocolate will identify with only too well.
Scientists became interested in finding out more about; the chemicals contained in chocolate to help people suffering from obesity and eating disorders. It was considered necessary to understand more about the range of substances which it contains. They hoped that this information would enable them to help people to control their food cravings by finding out what chocolate does to the brain.
What’s in Chocolate and how does it affect the brain?
· Caffeine: Increases energy by stimulating the central nervous system.
Over use causes: insomnia, irritability, anxiety and shaking.
· Theobromine: Affects The Heart.
The problems are that this is the chemical that small children may be unable to process. It is the substance which is so harmful to dogs.
· Serotonin: Induces feelings of temporary happiness.
Chocolate affects the part of The Brain which produces these feelings.
· Opioids: These contribute to the feelings of relaxation and happiness experienced when chocolate is eaten.
Adam Drewnowski (University of Michigan) found that chocolate contains chemicals which aid The Brain in producing natural opioids.
· Phenyletylamine: Produces feelings similar to: falling in love.
The Brain releases endorphins which induce feelings of pleasure.
· Cannabinoid Mimics: Chocolate stimulates the same brain receptors as cannabis.
Researchers discovered this link between chocolate and the drug: cannabis.
· Anandamide: Stimulates brain pathways which enable the happiness messages to be transmitted.
This helps to maintain the experience of feeling good. Although this is only for a short while, as it is not in The Body for long.
Most people can identify with feeling tired at times. Sugar aids The Body in the release of a short burst of energy.
Dark chocolate contains more chemicals than milk varieties. Some dark types have coco solids of 70% or higher. In Europe, this kind of chocolate is common. While In the USA, some milk chocolate only contains 10% coco solids.