Benefits of Chocolate Are Too Good to Be True

| 11/7/2016 12:45:00 PM

Tags: Chocolate, Comfort Food, Cocoa Bean,

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Chocolate beans being ground into Chocolate David LeBovitz

Chocolate has to be the world’s favorite food. Just the mere thought of it can bring a smile to your face and be a great picker-upper. Chocolate can make you glad, sad, mad, and everything in between — what other food can toy with so many of our emotions?

It is probably one of the most versatile foods we have. It can obviously entice your taste buds with its melt-in-your-mouth flavor, it comes in liquid in the form of rich hot chocolate or chocolate liqueur, even the smell of it invites a warm and fuzzy feeling. Folks have gone so far as to include it with their other comfort foods; you can buy chocolate-covered bacon and drink chocolate wine. (I think this might be the place to draw the line.)

So, what's behind this lure of chocolate? Actually, it is all in your head — literally. Eating chocolate stimulates part of the brain called the neostriatum and its production of enhephalin, a natural, opium-like substance. These chemicals surge when eating palatable foods, increasing the desire to eat more, thus the reason for our cravings. Ahh, the guilt is lifted the next time I reach for a piece of that sweet confection.

Actually, this is exactly what nutritionists are now telling us: that consumption of chocolate treats is something we do not have to feel guilty about because it is actually good for us, as long as it is the right kind and in moderation.

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