- phenylethylamine (PEA), a mood elevator
- cannabinoids, which have the same effect on the brain as marijuana
- caffeine and theobromine, mild stimulants
- protein, riboflavin, calcium and iron
- flavinoids, anti-oxidants and stearic acid and oleic acid (which may actually raise good cholesterol)
- anti-bacterial agents that fight tooth decay
OK, that's the good news. The bad news is that chocolate contains fat and high percentages of sugar. So forget about fighting tooth decay by eating chocolate. The fat and sugar make for a high calorie treat, so eating too much can definitely cause weight gain. But you knew all that. Here are some interesting bits that maybe you didn't know:
- The Swiss consume more chocolate (approximately 24 pounds per capita per year) than any other nation in the world. American's consume about 12 pounds annually per person.
- The Marquis de Sade had his wife send him chocolate in prison.
- In the US, about $1 billion are spent each year for Valentine's Day chocolate.
- The Dutch process the most chocolate in the world, but they consume less than Americans (the US comes in #9 on the chocolate consumption list).
- The Chinese eat only 1 chocolate bar for every 12 consumed by the British.
- The smell of chocolate can induce relaxation by increasing theta waves in the brain.
- Cacao flowers are pollinated by midges (gnats).
- Chocolate can cause seizures, cardiac irregularity, internal bleeding and even death in animals since they cannot process theobromine.
Reference: California Academy of Sciences