If you’re someone who heads straight for the chocolate when you’re feeling stressed, you’ll know all about the mood-boosting potential of this sweet treat. But the mood-enhancing effect of chocolate isn’t just down to its taste. Researchers have discovered that cacao – the purest form of chocolate available – can improve your mental health in many different ways.
Chocolate really can lift our mood. Researchers have discovered that cacao can help stimulate the brain into releasing neurotransmitters, which can in turn release feel-good hormones. These include phenylethylamine, a compound more commonly known as the “love drug” thanks to the feeling of calm it invokes. Phenylethylamine, or PEA, can also help to enhance mental focus and concentration, counter depression and anxiety, and improve our moods in general.
Although cacao only has small doses of PEA, studies suggest that it is in fact enough to have a tangible effect on our brain.
On top of its PEA levels, cacao is also packed with tryptophan, an amino acid that is linked to serotonin production. As low serotonin levels have been linked to depression, it’s super important to do everything you can to boost this neurotransmitter. And cacao is a great first step.
We all knew that chocolate had the potential to boost our mood, and now we have the science to prove it. But before you grab that chocolate bar, just remember that not all cacao is created equal.
To enjoy all the mood-boosting effects of this superfood, make sure you opt for organic cacao nibs or cacao powder. These raw products contain all the nutrients, antioxidants and minerals found in the cocoa bean, without any of the added ingredients. - 1 day ago