The benefits of chocolate begin immediately after you take that first bite.
Yes, chocolate is tasty. It has more than 600 flavour compounds, according to research in Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety. But in addition to rocking your taste buds, this popular treat affects different parts of your body – from your brain to your skin.
Immediate benefits of eating chocolate
The benefits of dark chocolate begin right after you take that first bite, says Lee Berk, an associate dean of research affairs at Loma Linda University who researches the benefits of chocolate. “The studies on human subjects which we’ve done measure the brain waves after eating just half a standard-sized bar, or 48 grams, of 70 per cent dark chocolate,” Dr Berk says. “The effects continue through a two-hour period after consumption, and we have ongoing research studying the amount of dark chocolate needed to consume relative to the number and amount of benefits.”
The pleasure of chocolate
The benefits after that first bite are due to the brain chemicals serotonin and dopamine. As you eat chocolate, their levels increase and alter your mood as the cocoa is absorbed into the bloodstream – resulting in pleasure, according to research in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. Dietitian Carol Aguirre explains that chocolate has phenylethylamine, a compound called the “love drug” because it can create a brain buzz similar to being in love.