British researchers have demonstrated that chocolate contains mind-altering chemicals that can actually stimulate your central nervous system and "make you feel young and in love."
One such biochemical is phenylethylamine. Phenylethylamine is a neurological biochemical that can give you a mild boost in your mood. It also contributes to that somewhat euphoric feeling that we equate with succumbing to the throes of love.
It’s known that anti-aging drugs like Eldepryl—which raises the neurotransmitter levodopa and is used in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease—increase phenylethylamine. Now it's proposed that chocolate might operate in just the same way. Just think! Chocolate! A health food! Good for your heart AND body!
The body often craves what it's deficient in, so if you're craving chocolate, it might be that you're looking to boost low levels of brain chemicals like phenylethylamine, or even dopamine and serotonin, as well as a sense of generalized well-being.
So, for those of us in Northern latitudes pushing to get through the winter “hump month” of February, maybe getting a little dark chocolate in our diets will be a TWO-FOLD Valentine’s Day treat—we can express our love, and break some winter blues as well.
Just remember, it’s DARK chocolate that offers all the healthy heart nutrition perks, not milk chocolate or white chocolate. And, as with everything food-related, I recommend organic chocolates.
Luckily there are plenty of organic chocolate available in health food stores and even basic grocery stores. Here’s a few Sinatra family favorites:
- Endangered Species Dark Chocolate,
- Theo chocolate,
- Rapunzel, and
- Equal Exchange.