Ah chocolate… It’s creamy, rich, just the right combo of bitter and sweet. You’ve got to have it! And now! But why? Ever wonder why we chocoholics crave chocolate the way we do?
We wondered! So, as always, we did a bit of investigating…
Turns out, research has shown that chocolate cravings are your body’s way of telling you it either needs a mood boost, or it’s deficient in magnesium (pretty common among women), or…both!
Let’s start with mood. Chocolate smells good, tastes good, and even feels good when it melts in your mouth. These positive sensations trigger the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that’s released in your brain whenever you experience joy (e.g. during sex, while receiving a compliment, or watching your sports team win a big game).
Because of the dopamine released, eating chocolate can actually lower your levels of stress. That’s why people often crave chocolate in stressful situations or when they’re in need of comfort or reassurance. The science is super simple – the experience of eating chocolate makes us happy!
Originally scientists thought chocolate contained compounds that could activate this dopamine system directly, in the same way cigarettes and cocaine do. But further research demonstrated that ingesting just the chemical compounds in chocolate, without tasting it and feeling it in your mouth, in fact doesn’t decrease chocolate cravings.
The dopamine-related mood boost is actually tightly linked to the act of enjoying chocolate – what great news!
A second factor sometimes linked to chocolate cravings is magnesium deficiency, which women can often experience. Chocolate contains significant amounts of magnesium and may partially explain why women seem to crave chocolate even more than men.
There you have it – being a chocoholic is natural, common and based in science! So enjoy making those cravings work for you by eating and drinking delicious, high-flavanol chocolate and cocoa!