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February’s Favorite Flavor

Chocolate’s Unique Chemistry

By Chef Nelda

The flavor of chocolate goes beyond Willie Wonka and Valentine’s Day. This secret craving can turn guilt into the best day ever when you understand the science behind the madness. Chocolate’s unique chemistry, taste and sensory properties can make it addictive. It has the perfect mix of sugar and fat to stimulate every appetite neurotransmitter. The sweet taste releases endorphins while the sugar catabolizes serotonin giving us that “feel good” feeling. Galanin levels are satisfied by the fat in chocolate that also enhances the aroma. Research has proven the aroma of chocolate plays a part in creating cravings. Sensory characteristics, nutrients composition and psychoactive ingredients coupled with monthly hormonal mood swings can also contribute to its cravings.


Chocolate Mood Elevator

Chocolate has many other exotic properties that are found to be excellent mood elevators. Theobromine and caffeine offer us a mental lift. The compound PEA stimulates the nervous system linked to the endorphin producing feelings of love and pleasure. The amino acid arginine found in chocolate acts in a similar way by increasing blood flow and amplifying sexual desire. Its anti-oxidant levels are high, as well as, a great source of the brain mineral magnesium. The neurotransmitter agent’s serotonin, dopamine and phenylethyamine which alleviate depression make this food nature’s Prozac.

The best strategy for eliminating the habit forming side of chocolate and realizing all euphoria benefits is to switch from processed chocolate to a 70% dark chocolate product or better Cacao in its natural state such as Cacao nibs.

Enjoy a moment of ecstasy this month.

About the Authors

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Hilary Stokes Phd

Dr. Hilary Stokes is a licensed psychotherapist in private practice in San Diego, California. Dr. Hilary received her PhD in psychology with a specialty in transpersonal psychology from San Diego University for Integrative Studies, a master’s degree in social work from San Diego State University and a master’s degree in Sport Psychology from San Jose State University. In addition to her ….

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A woman with short blonde hair smiling, wearing a striped shirt, with pink flowers and greenery in the background.

Kim Ward Phd

Dr. Kim Ward received her PhD in psychology with a specialty in transpersonal psychology from San Diego University for Integrative Studies. She also holds a master’s degree in transpersonal psychology from John F. Kennedy University in Orinda, California. Dr. Kim is a certified trauma-informed coach and life coach in private practice in San Diego, California. In…

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