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Chocolate is Good For Your Mental Well-Being

I have just read an interesting and rather exciting online article concerning chocolate and its benefits. Or to be more precise, I have just discovered one of the main disadvantages of NOT having chocolate in your diet!

If you would like me to send you the link for the full article in question for your further information please get in touch with me. Right now I would just like to share with you one of the most valid points from it, as it has solved something of a mystery for me, personally. I also feel that I can add my own real-life example as appropriate, down the page....

According to the Medical Research Council (situated in London, UK) Scientists at the University of Cambridge suggests that the neurotransmitter serotonin, which acts as a chemical messenger between nerve cells, plays a critical role in regulating emotions such as aggression during social decision-making. So what does all this mean?

First things first. What is serotonin (ser-o-TOE-nin)? According to the definition on The National Pain Foundation, it is: "A brain chemical (neurotransmitter) that helps to regulate your mood. A lack of it may lead to depression."

Where Can you Find Serotonin? Well the best known source of the "feel good" hormone is probably dark chocolate. Certainly when folks feel fed up, they are likely to reach for a chocolate bar - and the reason being that chocolate is known to raise the serotonin level. We accept that serotonin is known as the "feel good" hormone, and we agree that high levels of serotonin can make us feel happy; equally lack of it can make us feel sad. The essential amino acid necessary for the body to create serotonin can only be obtained through diet. Therefore, our serotonin levels naturally decline when we don't eat. This is probably why many of us "comfort eat" when necessary. It is our brain's invitation to produce more serotonin through diet, even though we do not realise it as such at the time.

This new research has additionally found that, rather than just make us feel low if we are lacking in serotonin, more importantly - but presumably if you are susceptible to this kind of reaction only, I wonder? - in certain cases a lack of serotonin will actually make people more aggressive. That's the bit above about "a critical role in regulating emotions such as aggression during social decision-making". Now does that help to explain it a little?

Why this was such a revelation to me, personally, is that my family had "accused" me of becoming not just moody but bordering on aggressive when I once gave up chocolate (not for health reasons I hasten to add, but for personal reasons of my own at that time); it was only ever going to be a temporary abstinence if you must know, because I am indeed a chocoholic and would find it difficult to give up chocolate completely...but that's not the point.

The point is, both my husband and my son independently asked me to start eating chocolate again. For health reasons they said. Theirs, not mine! When I asked them what they meant, they said that I had become "snappy" at the smallest of things, and the awful truth is, I cannot remember that at all.

I started eating chocolate again because they said it was too stressful if I didn't; and they both said I was a "happier" person afterward. Well that's OK because I felt perfectly happy and calm, but for a long time I thought they were just telling me this other stuff as a joke. I decided that they had made a pact to pretend I had acted more aggressively due to my lack of chocolate - but now I guess they were telling the truth!

So the moral of the story here is that Chocolate can have a very beneficial effect, and lack of it can actually be detrimental. But only if you are eating the right sort of chocolate, of course. Too much highly processed, fat and sugar laden chocolate may give you a "temporary high" but it is followed by a low which needs a "fix". It also has other health and weight issues to consider. I am happier now that I have found the perfect dark chocolate: xocai (pronounced show-sigh) which has no added fat or sugar and is actually a Healthy Chocolate ie. it is positively GOOD for you (and it's not just because it tastes nice).

If you want to find out more, or you would like to help regulate your moods naturally and with only good and healthy results, visit the site shown below:

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