Chocolate is by far the most stress-relieving snack humans have when under pressure. Despite chocolate having its satisfying crispy snap and smooth texture, that isn’t the reason why chocolate is appealing to humans, even under stress. So why is that a simple bar of chocolate makes a person feel so content and wanting for more? It all comes down to how the molecular compounds that impact brain chemistry. Chocolate contains many main ingredients such as milk, cocoa butter, and sugar. That’s what everyone sees, but chocolate has more to it. Chocolate has complex chemistry that makes its taste unique, two main chemicals to be exact, Theobromine and Tryptophan.
Theobromine is a well-known chemical found in the cocoa plant that chocolatiers use to make the beloved chocolate. It’s known to be the chemical that makes dark chocolate healthy for us, like lowering our chances of heart disease. The catch in this chemical is that it has similar properties as caffeine, it can relax and stimulate our muscles, making our body feel good. Theobromine doesn’t affect our brain since it’s not a central nervous system stimulant.
However, tryptophan, which is packed in chocolate and many other desserts helps stimulates the brain and eliminate anxiety. Initially, it’s an amino acid, a compound that helps produce proteins but the real factor is that tryptophan releases serotonin, the “feel-good” neurotransmitter. As serotonin is released, the body feels a euphoric sensation as they eat the chocolate, making the person want more for that “feel-good” sensation. Thanks to chemistry, we know why chocolate is so appealing to us. For more information on why people love eating chocolate, click here.