Sweet Tooth

chocolate-2224998.jpg

Chocolate has been around for ages. First created by the Mesoamericans, this decadent sweet transcends time not only in taste but in popularity. A popular staple during holidays, special events, and even just as a midnight craving, chocolate has proven itself as something loved by all. Seems like a bit much for just plain old chocolate, but there is more to chocolate than its taste.

Molecules of caffeine, a mild stimulant, are present in cocoa as well. It promotes alertness and sleeplessness and it is the most widely consumed psychoactive agent. Theobromine is another stimulant (similar to caffeine, but milder) found in cocoa.

Histamines are also present in chocolate, mostly in dark varieties, which increases the permeability of muscles, and effectively lowering blood pressure. Apart from that, chocolate consists of phenylethylamine, a compound that influences the production of serotonin and endorphins. Those two neurotransmitters are known as ‘happy chemicals’ because they provide a calm, euphoric feeling that can stabilize mood.

praline-3962142.jpg

While phenylethylamine promotes the production of serotonin and endorphins, anandamine, another neurochemical present in chocolate, opens synapses in the brain. These synapses are junctions in the brain where neurotransmitters are received. Anandamine is also known for allowing easier transmission of neurochemicals in substances like marijuana.

The high percentage of sugar in chocolate provides a quick boost in energy once ingested and broken down in the body. Often enough, it is used by chess players during games for a quick mental stimulation. Not only is it good for the soul, but it also has a positive physiological effect when taken in moderation.