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Can Eating Chocolate Feel Better Than a Kiss?

The heart rates and brain activity of couples in their 20s was monitored while they first melted chocolate in their mouths, and then kissed. The "buzz" caused by chocolate was more intense, and lasted four times longer, than that caused by kissing.

Chocolate also doubled volunteers' heart rates, from a resting rate of about 60 beats per minute to 140. Kissing did increase heart rate, but not to the same degree.

Substances in chocolate are already known to have a psychoactive effect; it contains phenylethylamine, which can raise levels of endorphins in the brain, and caffeine, which is stimulating.

Allowing the chocolate to melt on your tongue may maximize the buzz.

BBC News April 16, 2007

Physorg.com April 16, 2007

Associated Content April 17, 2007

Dr. Mercola's Comment:

Researchers were surprised by the intense physical effects of melting chocolate. Your body may react to love like a drug, but not so strongly as it reacts to dark chocolate. Perhaps this is an underlying reason why choosing food -- and risking the epidemic of obesity -- is sometimes more appealing than human contact (but is not a wise move for your optimal health).

If you do choose to eat chocolate, be sure to follow these simple guidelines:

If you eat chocolate, only eat DARK chocolate.

Dark chocolate has antioxidant properties, which can actually help to protect the body from damaging oxidative stress. It also is far better than milk chocolate, as adding milk cancels out the chocolate's antioxidant effects. However, please understand that just because chocolate is dark, it does not mean it is healthy.

Most cocoa is processed in ways that destroy the majority of the beneficial polyphenolic bioflavanoids. But you can safely assume that all milk and white chocolate does not have these beneficial nutrients.

Only eat chocolate if you're healthy.

Chocolate, even if it is dark, still contains large quantities of sugar, and eating sugar has a profoundly negative influence on your immune system. So the key point here is that if you are sick, the absolute last thing you want to do is eat any sugars. You want to keep your diet as absolutely clean as possible. That is NOT the time to cheat on your diet.

Consume chocolate in moderation.

A small bit of chocolate can be very satisfying if you savor each bite, rather than just wolfing it down. Also, if you are constantly craving sweets, you are likely not eating the correct balance of protein, fats and carbohydrates for your nutritional type.

If you tend to crave chocolate when you are upset, bored or lonely, then you could benefit from resolving these underlying emotional issues (and we all have them) that are driving you to seek comfort from chocolate.

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