Eating chocolate increases the levels of endorphins released into the brain, giving credence to the claim that chocolate is a comfort food.
The endorphins work to lessen pain and decrease stress (2).
Another common neurotransmitter affected by chocolate is serotonin.
Serotonin is known as an anti-depressant.
Does chocolate affect serotonin levels?
Because it can increase serotonin levels in the brain, dark chocolate also may increase serotonin production in the gut, and thus help your immune system.
Does milk chocolate have serotonin?
Chocolate may interact with some neurotransmitter systems such as dopamine (chocolate contains the dopamine precursor tyrosine), serotonin and endorphins (contained in cocoa and chocolate) that contribute to appetite, reward and mood regulation. Poor mood stimulates the eating of comfort foods such as chocolate.
What neurotransmitter Does chocolate affect?
Though chocolate is known for its ability to increase levels of the calming neurotransmitter serotonin, it also contains small amounts of a compound called phenylethylamine, which acts like an amphetamine, stimulating your brain cells to release dopamine.
How can you increase your serotonin levels?
Eating foods that contain the essential amino acid known as tryptophan can help the body to produce more serotonin. Foods, including salmon, eggs, spinach, and seeds are among those that help boost serotonin naturally.
Eight foods that naturally boost serotonin
- Soy products.