Women desire chocolate much more than men. Women crave chocolate, and approximately half of the cravers crave it specifically around the onset of menstruation. Chocolate cravings appear to exist in 40% of females and 15% of males, three fourths of whom claim that no other substance will appease their desire.
Chocolate affect the brain, leading to an increase in neurotransmitters and dopamine and a feeling of happiness sets in. Chocolate increases serotonin in the brain, a neurotransmitter responsible for better mood, sleep, and reduction of anxiety. Women have a natural decrease in serotonin in the brain in the week before menstruation, so this may partially explain the specific craving for chocolate during this time.
Chocolate affects the brain of women in a different way. The brain of some men and women were scanned using MRI and it was found that chocolate affected the activity of the amygdala more in the brain of women. The Amygdala is a part of the brain that can affect emotions and sexual desire.
Scientists have speculated that chocolate consumption may be even motivated by magnesium deficiency, especially because magnesium deficiency is associated with premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Chocolate and cocoa powder both contain exceptionally high concentrations of this nutrient.
What make women chocolate addict
Chocolate contains several biologically active constituents (methylxanthines, biogenic amines, and cannabinoid-like fatty acids), all of which potentially cause abnormal behaviors and psychological sensations that parallel those of other addictive substances.
- Theobromine: A caffeine-like central nervous system stimulant. Theobromine is responsible for the bitter taste of chocolate.
- Tryptophane: Increases the brain’s serotonin levels for a happy, feel-good result.
- Phenethylamine: Releases endorphins, causing feelings of passion and love. Chocolate acts as ‘aphrodisiac’ due to the presence of Phenylethylamine. Phenylethylamine, is also known as the “love drug”.
- Anandamide: Is a cannabinoid. Decrease pain perception and produce euphoria.
- Sugar and fat: The unbeatable duo that gives chocolate its delectable creamy texture.
How to make healthy chocolate drink
Make healthy cocoa drink by mixing 1 tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder in hot water (pour water on top of cocoa slowly while stirring to avoid clumping). If you like some sweetness, you can also add any non-calorie sweetener as well as cinnamon or other spices to taste. To get the best benefit of cocoa it should be taken alone and not mixed into foods, protein powders or milk.
Other benefits of eating chocolate
- Good source of Antioxidants
Cocoa contains large concentrations of flavonoids, epicatechin, catechin, and procyanidins. Cocoa has the maximum levels of flavonoids, greater than even tea and wine.
- Rich in Minerals
Cocoa is rich in minerals such as potassium, phosphorus, copper, iron, zinc, and magnesium, which potentiate the health benefits of chocolate. Chocolate also contains valeric acid which acts as a stress reducer despite the presence of the stimulants caffeine and theobromine in the chocolate.
- Cocoa and cardiovascular diseases
Numerous studies have suggested beneficial effects of cocoa in cardiovascular diseases (CVD). Daily consumption of dark chocolate could be an effective cardiovascular preventive strategy in patients with metabolic disease.
- Lowers Blood Pressure
Consumption of dark chocolate bars for 15 days has been reported to reduce systolic blood pressure in healthy subjects as well as in young and elderly hypertensive patients
- Chocolate and stress
Chocolate affects stress levels by prompting serotonin production which is a calming neurotransmitter. Following 14 days of dark chocolate ingestion, stress parameters in the adults exhibiting high anxiety profiles became comparable with the low-stress subjects.
- Chocolate and weight loss
Cocoa consumption led to a significant decrease in total body weight, mesenteric white adipose tissue weight and serum triglycerides in rats. When DNA analysis was carried out on liver and mesenteric fat tissue samples, the results showed a reduction in expression of various genes associated with fatty acid transport and synthesis in liver and mesenteric fat and increased expression of genes associated with thermogenesis.
However, the major criticism against the consumption of chocolate for health benefit is the high amount of sugar and triglycerides that needs to be consumed to reach what has been demonstrated to be a potentially good dose.
Now that you know chocolate is so good for you, it’s time to start eating, without guilt — in moderation, of course.