Biology and You

You and Food

Why does eating chocolate make some people feel good—or possibly in love?

Chocolate contains over 300 known chemicals, some of which can alter mood, such as caffeine. Chocolate also contains a small amount of the chemical phenylethylamine (PEA), a stimulant to the nervous system that makes people feel more alert and gives a sense of overall well-being.

Of course, it’s interesting to note that chocolate has another hidden factor—that connected to love. Neurochemicals are released in the physical bodies of two people who are attracted to each other, so one can say that a chemical reaction does indeed occur between two people. The neurochemicals involved are phenylethylamine (also found in chocolate), which speeds up the flow of information between nerve cells; dopamine, which makes us feel good; and norepinephrine, which makes the heart race.


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