Ever heard of mood foods? What are mood foods? Correct, as the name indicates they are foods that can affect your mood in a positive or negative way! In today’s post we are going to talk about an intro to foods that can help you lift your spirits especially when you are feeling low. We will focus on in detail on chocolates…..that’s right …you heard it…..chocolates can help you overcome a bad day, depression gnawing at your gut, anxiety and what not!
Foods like berries, bananas, proteins, tea, coffee and chocolates can give you the extra zing that you need when feeling low. When you are feeling under the weather for no particular reason, a little weepish, introvert, kind of listless, a big chunk of chocolate would do the trick! According to a BBC documentary aired few years back distributing chocolates to youngsters leaving pubs on weekend cut down the incidence of violence and fight by more than 50%. The initiative was taken by London Police and later replicated in other cities and university towns.
How are Chocolates made?
Chocolate is made from fruit of cocoa tree called cocoa beans. Grounded cocoa beans yield best cup of fresh coffee that will not only lift your spirits but provide a kick start to your day! Cocoa beans undergo lot of processing before they are converted to chocolate by adding milk and sugar and cocoa butter.
Nutritionally chocolates contain some proteins, sugar in variable amount and few minerals. Plain chocolate has iron and magnesium and potassium. Chocolates have high content of fat about 30% by weight, hence have more calories about 500 calories per 100 g.
Fun Facts about Chocolates:
The cocoa tree scientific name is “Theobroma Cacao” meaning “food of Gods”.
A small bar 125 g of dark chocolate contains more caffeine than a cup of instant coffee and can lead to hyperactivity and lack of sleep or delayed sleep. There is no scientific evidence that eating chocolates causes acne or enhances it. Chocolates do less harm to teeth as compared to other confectionery. The feel good property of chocolate comes from its capacity to boost serotonin and endorphins levels in blood. These are chemicals/hormones that boost or enhance mood and make us feel better and happy. So guys, there is definitely some sense in giving box of chocolates to your girl friends! It sure is gonna lift their spirits and a precursor to good time.
Hence chocolates when taken in moderation are actually good for you! Following are the key reasons to indulge yourself.
1. Chocolates lower the risk of diseases: Like tea, dark chocolate contains flavonoids, which are compounds that act as antioxidants. The job of antioxidant is to bind with harmful chemicals released as byproduct of metabolism in the body. These harmful chemicals are called “free radicals” and can cause cancer and other diseases by damaging the cellular structure. Free radicals by virtue of cell damage can lead to heart disease. Flavonoids can lower blood pressure and reduce LDL (Low Density Lipoproteins) cholesterol i.e., the bad cholesterol by up to 10 percent.
2. It’s a Mood Enhancer: Dark chocolate stimulates the production of endorphins and boost serotonin by preventing its uptake by the specific receptors. These chemicals are responsible for bringing on the feelings of pleasure. It also helps tolerate pain and can facilitate sleep, that too in half an hour of its consumption.
3. It protects the skin: German researchers found that the flavonoids in dark chocolate absorb UV light which helps protect and increase blood flow to the skin, and improve skin’s hydration and complexion.
However dark chocolate does contain a lot of calories. 100g of dark chocolate contains more than 500 calories. So it is recommended to limit chocolate intake to three ounces per day. 40g serving (4-7 squares) of chocolate that’s 85 per cent cocoa has 227 calories but the same amount of Dairy Milk has 210.