Ask people why they love chocolate, and chances are they’ll tell you it’s good. It smells good. It tastes good. And melting chocolate feels good in your mouth.
Where do these good feelings come from? The obvious answer is the chocolate, but there are some other factors at play, namely chocolate chemicals. Brains love chocolate and for good reason: Chocolate releases dopamine and other feel-good neurotransmitters in all the right regions of your brain.
Learn more about how melting chocolate affects your brain chemicals and brings you very real happiness.
Chocolate, chemicals and brains — they’re all related. When you eat chocolate, you’re consuming what you could call a magical food. Chocolate has almost 380 different compounds that profoundly affect your brain chemicals and produce good feelings, including:
It’s easy to see why our brains crave chocolate, given the many different pleasure-inducing compounds that it contains.
If there were a pill that contained all of these chemicals, taking it wouldn’t fulfill your chocolate craving. Researchers actually tried giving people just certain components of chocolate, including white chocolate and cocoa capsules. The result was not a very large decrease in cravings. The experience of eating chocolate is what really got rid of the craving.
That may be because we connect eating chocolate and feeling good during and after. Its texture, aroma and flavor are all important components of the experience. One study even found that by allowing chocolate to slowly melt in your mouth, you get the same large increase in heart rate and brain activity as you do when you passionately kiss your loved one. Best of all, those effects last longer with chocolate — four times longer!
When you have a chocolate craving, enjoy a piece and all the pleasure that will come along with it!