why does eating chocolate affect your mood?

The term ‘comfort food’ and the indulgent chocolate often go hand in hand…but why?! I know people often crave the sweet taste and smooth mouth feel, however there must be more to it if so many people throughout the world crave the same foods for the same reason.

With this in mind I found this Mood Foods slideshow which sums up quite nicely the nutrients that affect our hormone levels, and thereby impact on our mood.

The main nutrients that got the thumbs up for helping elevate mood and reduce stress were the following:

Tyrosine- an amino acid found in meat, dairy and protein rich legumes
Vitamin C- in fruits and vegetables (in particular kiwi fruit, strawberries and mango)
Magnesium- found in nuts, seafood, leafy green vegetables and wholegrains
Chilli- well that one is pretty straight forward where you get it from!
Ginger- ditto to the above comment
Omega 3’s- found in cold water fish such as salmon, herring and tuna (as well as walnuts and flaxseeds)
Sedatives- found in onions, fennel, honey and spices (garlic, ginger, parsley, sage, spearmint, cumin, clove and anise)
Iron- found in meats, eggs, fish, legumes and dark green leafy vegetables (but this source of iron is not absorbed very well)
Tryptophan- found in turkey, milk, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sea weed and baked potatoes
Cocoa- found in dark chocolate
Vitamin D- obtained from the sunshine

As you can see, there are a variety of nutrients that can help or impact on our moods. I guess it just keeps adding to the pull of evidence that a nutritious diet really does impact so many aspects of our lives.

Does anyone have any good recipes they can share that use some of the above ingredients?

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