All of us, sometimes, crave chocolate with such an intensity that we may feel like we’d explode if we don’t get it just now! To some, this is a common occurrence, while for others this may be an occasional thing, especially around the time of the menstrual period. So, is it true that women crave chocolate more than men, or are they just very indiscreet about it? Is this a psychological phenomenon that makes us go crazy with choco-lust or do our hormones have a role to play?
Chocolate and Happiness
What most of you may or may not know is, that chocolate has a tendency to make us happy. Or at least make us feel like we’re happy. And no, this has nothing to do with the gooey caramelized center or crispy wafer or the sugar rush. Chocolate increases the amount of serotonin released in our brain, which is basically a neurotransmitter, responsible for better mood, decrease in anxiety and better sleep. It also causes our body to release dopamine, which is a feel good chemical and enhances the effect of serotonin.
Chocolate and the Menstrual Cycle
The feel good chemical is one of the reasons why eating chocolate during PMS makes us feel so much better. Right before menstruation, our body’s serotonin level decreases, which accounts for the mood swings and depression. Chocolate also contains the obromine which stimulates sexual arousal.
Magnesium in Chocolate
Your body works like a well oiled machine. If it requires something to function and the demands are not met, it will send signals throughout your body. One such requirement is magnesium. Magnesium is used to make neurotransmitters in our body which are required for our mental well being. Not surprisingly, chocolate is a great source of magnesium along with leafy greens, avocados and nuts. So, as soon as our body’s magnesium stores run low, we automatically start craving chocolate. This could be a good and a bad thing. Good, because of the yum chocolate. And bad, because processed chocolates have high calories and can make you gain weight as well as cause acne.
Do Men Crave Chocolate?
Although it is not advertised a lot, men crave chocolate too. The feel good effects of chocolate aren’t at all gender biased. However, the whole idea of craving chocolate, before you get your period or eating chocolate to reduce stress, has been greatly exaggerated by the media. Ever seen a show, movie or commercial where a girl binges on chocolate to get over a break up or get together for a sleepover and eat nothing but chocolate. This kind of mentality promotes women to crave chocolate for refuge.
Antioxidants in Chocolate
Another reason why some women may crave chocolate is the many benefits of dark chocolate. Dark chocolate, unlike milk chocolate, is known to have myriad health benefits. It contains antioxidants that are required to slow down the aging process. It can even help you shed a few pounds and is an amazing addition to a low-calorie diet plan.