Tuesday, July 05, 2011
Why We Crave Chocolate
With its melt-in-your-mouth softness, is it any wonder that chocolate is one of many women's favorite dessert or pick-me-up treat (though men, don't feel left out here!)? In addition to just tasting great, dark chocolate in particular is often touted for its well-known antioxidant benefits, helping fight free radicals.
Today I want to share with you the top reasons that women - and men - often crave it. Women often crave chocolate just before their periods, because they are deficient in magnesium (which chocolate has a fairly good amount of). Magnesium is a very important mineral for relaxation, and also one to be used up quickly and easily in times of stress.
But, as you may imagine, in today's crazy-busy, never-sleep-enough world, the top reason women crave chocolate is the energy high it provides, particularly in the mid-afternoon hours (especially if lunch didn't provide the nutrients they need, but that's a topic for another month), for its:
1. high sugar content, which is a temporary stimulant (the same reason little kids get sugar highs on high-sugar snacks)
2. high content of oxalic acid, also a temporary stimulant
3. content of theobromine, a stimulant similar to caffeine, but milder
4. high copper content (the natural mineral needed for energy production).
While of course indulging in chocolate now and then is OK, if you consistently crave it, or struggle to live without it for some time, consider raising your energy levels in more sustainable ways than the temporary high (followed by a crash) provided by chocolate. Some tools you can pursue....
1. Make sure you drink enough water daily
2. Consume foods with higher magnesium content, or, if you are dealing with PMS or cramps, or general tension, take a magnesium citrate supplement
3. Make sure you plan your meals to contain enough protein and fat, in addition to carbohydrates. Doing so will enable your blood sugar - and energy - level to stay more balanced throughout the day, leading to less mental and physical fatigue
Â 4. In particularly stressful times, be sure to plan in some down-time as much as you are able. Even if you can't sleep, take some quiet time for yourself; as little as five minutes will make a difference!Â
So next time you crave chocolate, don't just enjoy a piece - take a moment to think if you might not also benefit from these simple tips...