To the ancient Mayans chocolate had magical and divine powers, an indication that they may have known about its mood-altering effects.
Chocolate’s ability to counteract depression by raising serotonin levels is widely known. Less well known is that both women and men use chocolate as mood food, according to a 2010 study of over 1,000 adults.
Antioxidants in chocolate can protect your brain from the damaging effects of air pollution. Chocolate decreases brain inflammation. Chocolate consumption has also been shown to protect a part of the brain that produces the neurotransmitter dopamine and the vagus nerve, which controls the majority of your internal organs.
Components in chocolate called bioactive amines may reduce symptoms of Parkinson’s disease by improving brain metabolism and increasing dopamine levels.
For most of history, chocolate was consumed unsweetened and without the added saturated fat that makes it a sinful indulgence instead of the health food that it truly is.