Why Do I Have Chocolate Cravings?

Chocolate is packed with antioxidants and certain nutrients including iron, copper, magnesium and potassium. Your body may need more of these nutrients and crave chocolate as a response.

In addition to this, chocolate contains phenylethylamine, which controls oxytocin and endorphins, both of which will give you a feeling of wellbeing and even euphoria.

Chocolate also contains anandamide, a chemical that acts like THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. This, in addition to the increased endorphins in your brain, when you eat chocolate explains why you crave chocolate.

Craving chocolate during your period can be explained by the fact that chocolate contains a large amount of iron (more than in beef liver). Your body needs extra iron during this time, thus the craving.

Is Chocolate Really Dangerous Or Addictive?

Yes, chocolate does seem to be mildly addictive due to the brain stimulants mentioned above. I wouldn?t really call it dangerous, but you do have to watch out for your chocolate consumption, and make good choices in the type of chocolate you eat. Chocolate addictions are perhaps the best kind because you can easily control it by what you eat.

Darker chocolate is more beneficial to your health. Stick with quality dark, bitter sweet chocolate that uses cocoa beans that are as unprocessed as possible. The process used to make milk chocolate destroys many of the beneficial flavanols. White chocolate contains all the fat and calories of the sweet treat, without any of the flavanols and antioxidants. Take a look at the type of fat that is used in making the chocolate. Good quality chocolate uses cocoa butter. The main fat in cocoa butter, stearic acid, is a saturated fat that doesn?t seem to raise your cholesterol.

Also remember that chocolate contains caffeine, which may keep you up at night. Excess caffeine does have some negative side effects. You should avoid caffeine as much as possible if you are pregnant. Learn more about caffeine (link to caffeine page).

What Can I Do To Curb My Chocolate Cravings?

The best way to curb chocolate cravings is to enjoy it in moderation and to stick to the healthier dark chocolate that also contains lots of antioxidants.

Craving chocolate is also often an indication of a lack of certain nutrients such as iron, copper, magnesium and potassium. Let's see what other foods you should be eating to make sure you get enough of these nutrients.

Iron ? eat brown rice, whole wheat, liver, dates and beets

Copper ? eat nuts (especially cashew), sunflower seeds, chickpeas, liver and oysters

Magnesium ? eat peanuts, tofu, broccoli, spinach and soybeans

Potassium ? eat apricots, bran wheat, raisins, figs, and baked potato with skin

I understand that sometimes you just have to have chocolate and the idea of eating some tofu or a slice of whole-wheat toast just won?t work. Grab a small piece of quality dark chocolate and savor it. Take your time, really taste the chocolate melting in your mouth and enjoy it without feeling guilty. This should take care of your craving and keep you from binging on a box of Hershey's bars.

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About The Author, Diana Walker