Does this experience sound familiar? You're about to eat a piece of dark chocolate and, whether it's in your office (hiding under your desk) or at home (snuggy in bed), you kind of wish you were the only one in the room as you engage all of your senses. From the time you take the first look you feel awakened and recharged. As the chocolate aroma passes your nose you feel the endorphins start to rush. You take a little bite to fully experience the myriad of flavors, creaminess and complexity of the dark chocolate while it melts in your mouth. All of your senses open as your emotions take a journey from peaceful contentment to blissfully aware then, finally ... ahh ... total euphoria.
Could our affection for chocolate and the episodic experience it brings us have actual
1. Turns out, there may be good reason that chocolate is a familiar courtship ritual. Chocolate's sweet and fatty nature (from cocoa butter), as well as a substance called phenylethylamine (SAY WHAT? PEA for short.) can stimulate the hypothalamus, which induces pleasurable sensations and increases levels of serotonin in the brain, making us feel happy and blissful. There are also substances in chocolate that may activate cannabinoid receptors in our body resulting in heightened sensitivity and euphoria.
2. Chocolate also contains psychoactive compounds, such as theobromine and caffeine, which can give an instant energy boost and improve stamina. (Chocolate for breakfast? Yep, that's a real thing. Bye bye coffee!)
3. Finally, the polyphenols in dark chocolate help to create nitric oxide in our body, which dilates the blood vessels and increases blood flow, delivering more oxygen and nutrients to all organs, including the skin, liver and heart (and um, yes, all organs. Wink, wink.)
So, can these feelings of love and euphoria be real? Possibly. We know that 1-1.5 ounces of dark chocolate daily can provide numerous benefits for the heart, brain, mood, endurance and more — so, the bottom line? Whether you're spending the day of love (yes, Valentine's Day is tomorrow for those of you who are slacking) with someone or solo, you can count on chocolate to be the dreamiest date that is sure to end heavenly.