Some will claim chocolate is its own food group. We eat it any time of day. We sprinkle it. We drink it. We pour it. We crave it. But what do those chocolate cravings REALLY mean?
If you crave chocolate, it means your body is depleted and it’s time to restore, right? Head to the vending machine and grab a Hershey’s Bar. Done and done! Yeah, well, if only.
Chocolate has always been near and dear to my heart. I lived in Hershey, PA for several years, right on the corner of Cocoa and Chocolate Ave. I worked at Hershey Park for several summers. “Thanks for riding the looper, have a super dooper day!” Yep. That was me. I also interned at the Reese’s plant. Can I just tell you how amazing Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups taste right off the assembly line? Ahhh… the good ole days. I digress.
Chocolate is a happy food for our brain. It increases dopamine, which is a happy neurotransmitter. We also tend to crave it during “certain times of the month.” But neither of these reasons may be the primary reasons you are craving chocolate. Drum roll please…..
It’s magnesium. Your chocolate craving could very well be a depletion of magnesium. While there are other foods high in magnesium, chocolate is the only food high in magnesium which is also connected so strongly to our brain. Don’t worry, it’s normal and common. And it sounds so much better than blaming “that time,” don’t you agree?
Health Benefits of Magnesium
More than 300 metabolic processes in your body rely on magnesium. It helps to build and rebuild tissue, sparks energy and relaxes blood vessels, which help to lower blood pressure. It is super heart-healthy and contains antioxidants and flavonoids, all good for your heart (American Heart Association). Magnesium deficiency can be linked to PMS, Fibromyalgia, heart attack, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, chronic fatigue, depression, and migraines (source).
Other Foods High in Magnesium
Some of the best foods on the planet are high in magnesium! These include oats, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, Brazil nuts, pine nuts, almonds, cashews, peanuts, dates, figs, black beans, spinach, and halibut. So the next time you are craving chocolate, why not reach for some spinach and halibut? Yeah right! Chocolate is so much better!
Milk, Dark, Cacao or Carob?
If you think I’m going to tell you to grab a Snickers Bar and call it a day, think again. While you can look at milligrams of magnesium all day long, it also depends on the serving size. When looking at milligrams of magnesium per serving gram (source), unsweetened cocoa came out on top by a long shot – 5.42, followed by bran and almonds at 2.7. Milk chocolate has 0.63 milligrams of magnesium per serving gram, which isn’t bad. However, milk chocolate is processed and is typically paired with sugar and other sweeteners, and this combined with the dairy component reduces your ability to absorb what few nutrients are left. Honestly, milk chocolate is nothing more than a sugar bomb. #sorrynotsorry
You want to look for 85% (or greater) dark chocolate, or raw cacao. This is where you will find all of the magnesium and other nutrients. According to the US Department of Agriculture, raw cacao has the highest amount of ORAC (oxygen radical absorption capacity) of any food… meaning it has the highest concentration of antioxidants. In any food. Period. You. Are. Welcome.
Carob is an entirely different plant altogether. It has a similar taste to chocolate but is not true cacao. Carob does not come close to the amount of magnesium in cacao. Raw carob powder is its own powerhouse and has protein and fiber, and is high in vitamin A, vitamin K. calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Carob powder contains polyphenols which have been shown to help prevent cancer and improve cardiovascular health.
And… if you like your chocolate like you like your coffee… there’s even Bulletproof chocolate. Yep. I know. I’m your hero.
The Best Kind of Chocolate
These are some of my favorites!
Pure 7 Dark Chocolate 100% Cacao
Theo Organic Dark Chocolate 85% Cocoa
Earth Circle Organics Carob Powder
Maca Matcha Chocolate Bars Recipe
Your Next Step…
Love, hugs, and never underestimate the power of chocolate.HERE.
This makes me so happy! Almost as happy as chocolate makes me! 😉 Yaaaayyyy dark chocolate!
Hi Liz – Be happy! Eat chocolate! Thanks so much for stopping by and I hope to see you again soon! Hugs, Holly
Not a chocoholic – would say I use to be but have found that almonds are a great substitute and they help provide a little energy boost that lasts without the crash. Great information, Thanks!
Hi Carole – Almonds are another great one to enjoy! Thanks for stopping by to share and I hope to see you again soon! Hugs, Holly
I love chocolate – magnesium supps def. help me a lot. thanks for this post!
stop by and chat with me ♥ http://storybookapothecary.com
Thanks for making me feel better about indulging in chocolate from time-to-time when the craving is there ;-P It’s nice to know that there’s many benefits of eating it. I still believe in moderation though. If any of your readers are hoping to transform their body, while continuing to eat the best choices of chocolate, then here is a flexible plan that allows for a “cheat” day and it works wonders http://pfl90.com
Hi Rich – Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by and share! I hope to see you again soon. Hugs, Holly
Anytime Holly! Fantastic blog and let me know if you accept guest posts as I have 4 humdingers of articles on the topic of weight loss psychology that can benefit your readers…