There are few people on this planet who can claim they’ve never experienced a craving for chocolate. The feelings we get when we bite into a piece of dark chocolate—MMMMmmmm—these are the result of our brain releasing feel good chemicals, such as dopamine, which is the neurological response to feel good activities, such as sex, laughing, enjoying a glass of wine or watching a gorgeous sunset.
Partially hard-wired by genetics, in that certain activities are almost universally enjoyed, the brain’s dopaminergic system is also remarkably malleable—able to learn and adapt to our specific preferences based on our life experiences and exposure to certain activities. And it’s this plasticity that makes each of us unique in our preferences—why some prefer oranges to apples, skiing to surfing, or rom-coms to thrillers. Yet, even with such variability in our reward circuits, chocolate triggers in nearly everyone a mild mood elevation, the sensation of being alert and contented and, most notably, a momentary reduction in anxiety and stress.
Unfortunately, however, chocolate, in the form most of us are used to—the chocolate bar, typically with milk and sugar and fat added—is not as health-promoting as claimed to be. Yes, it does melt on our tongue and induce a powerful neurological reward. But what’s rarely recognized is that even in dark chocolate bars, the additives, the 30% added ingredients in a “70% cacao” bar, are not doing our bodies any favors while, of course, still treating our minds to the insatiable dopamine snacks.
To get purely the benefits of chocolate, without the dairy and sugar and fat and resulting undesirable effects, we recommend choosing 100% cacao (over the purportedly good-for-you chocolate bar). While not as sweet in its natural form, cacao, from the Theobroma tree (which, appropriately, means “food of the gods” in Greek!), is the healthiest and cleanest form of chocolate we can consume, and arguably the best way of promoting vibrant health, happiness and wellbeing!
At the Coop, we’re excited to offer 100% cacao “nibs” from Wildness Family Naturals—a delectable treat for the mind and body, and without the unwanted side effects of the modern day chocolate bar. We hope you stop by soon to try chocolate the way nature intended, and experience for yourself the sensuous pleasure of this remarkably mood-enhancing and blissful delight!