Excerpts from Joel Glenn Brenner's well documented volume The Emperors of Chocolate:
"Like many foods, chocolate contains numerous mood-altering chemicals, such as phenylalanine, an amino acid that elevates mood and increases amiability, and magnesium, which helps the brain manufacture serotonin, a potent neurotransmitter linked to mood stability."
"But of chocolate's psychoactive ingredients, the two most interesting are anandamide and phenylethylamine, chemicals found in the human brain that help arouse emotions and heighten bodily sensation. Anandamide is similar to the active ingredient in marijuana [THC] which may explain why people crave chocolate and why many people consume chocolate when they're depressed."
"Phenylethylamine, called PEA, was discovered in chocolate in 1982. It, too, is associated with feelings of happiness and bliss. Win the lottery, get a promotion or fall in love, and your PEA level shoots up. But have a bad day, and your PEA level drops. In 1982, two New York psychopharmacologists, Donald Klein and Michael Leibowitz, suggested that people eat chocolate in order to boost their PEA, thereby experiencing the same euphoric feelings they have when they fall in love."
" . . . there are connections between chocolate and mood. Observing lab animals, scientists at MIT have found that certain cells of the hypothalamus portion of the brain send out pleasure signals in response to substances that are either sweet or fatty. They go mad with joy when the substance is both sweet AND fatty. Chocolate derives about 50 percent of its calories from sugar and about 50 percent from fat--a combination unequaled among foods."
"That unique mixture of fat and sugar is pure heaven to our brains," according to nutrition researcher Michael Levine. "Chemically speaking, chocolate really is the world's perfect food."
One more time, please? "Chocolate really is the world's perfect food."
"Its appeal is particularly strong for premenopausal women." "Women do need chocolate as well as other foods high in starch, sugar and fat to stabilize moods, control weight, and revitalize well-being. Chocolate has the perfect combination of sugar and fat, plus a plethora of other ingredients that account for its unmatched biological and psychological experience."
Suck on that, Jeans!