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The Link Between Chocolate & Your Brain

Chocolate, there’s something about it that calls our name and creates a desire to bite down and snap off a sweet chuck of it. From the first piece until the last, you can’t get enough of the creamy texture and rich flavor of every satisfying bite. Once you’re finished, do you ever wish you had more? There are a variety of reasons why we crave chocolate with such intensity. Chocolate has an effect on the brain and our overall emotional state that explains why we enjoy eating it so much.

In this blog, we’ll discuss the effect chocolate has on the brain and what things are triggered to give us this feeling.

What Are Endorphins and Why Does Chocolate Trigger Them?

Endorphins are neurotransmitters, which is a chemical that neurons use to communicate with one another. Endorphins interact with the receptors in our brain that reduce the perception of pain and can help trigger a positive feeling in the body. Depending on the event, neurotransmitters can directly affect the way people act and feel.

If you have ever heard of “releasing endorphins”, the topic of conversation might have been about working out or physical exercise. When you exercise, endorphins are released into the brain and give you a positive feeling. Well, did you know… chocolate can have the same effect on a person?! We’re not telling you to stop working out and to eat more chocolate, but to really get the endorphins going, have a good workout then enjoy a small piece of chocolate!

So, why does chocolate trigger these endorphins? Research discovered that cocoa, the main ingredient in chocolate, is the primary cause of endorphin release. But keep this in mind, not all chocolate is created equally. Dark chocolate contains more cocoa than its creamy counterpart, milk chocolate. Pure cocoa is bitter, and milk chocolate is mixed with sugar and milk to counter the bitterness. But, the more milk and sugar you add, the less pure cocoa remains in the chocolate. Remember, dark chocolate = more cocoa = more endorphins. That being said, milk chocolate never seems to fail at putting a smile on our faces!

Endorphins don’t give us that “happy feeling” all by themselves. Dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin form an unstoppable team that no Negative Nancy could bring down!

The “Feel Good” Food

Chocolate contains several other mood-enhancing chemicals, including:

1, 3, 7-Trimethylxanthine- Never heard of that before? That’s because the street name is caffeine. It works by counteracting the natural neurotransmitter adenosine, resulting in an increase in heart rate and muscle contraction.

Theobromine- This stimulant works alongside caffeine to produce the characteristic energy boost many people experience after getting their chocolate fix.

Tryptophan- An amino acid found in small quantities in chocolate used by the brain to make serotonin, the neurotransmitter that can produce feelings of happiness.

Phenylethylalanine- This promotes feelings of attraction, excitement and nervousness and is associated with the “butterflies” we feel when falling in love.

USA Snax

At USA Snax, we put handcrafted chocolate delicacies created by small businesses from all across the United States in our boxes. Each business adds their own personal touch, so every piece of chocolate has its own unique taste!

If you’re a fan of both sweet and salty snacks, you’re in luck! USA Snax offers a variety of both in every box to perfectly complement your personalized palet! To try a taste of the states, click here and begin your delicious journey across the USA!

Source: Malleys Chocolates