There are several reasons women crave chocolate. Statistically, women tend to desire chocolate much more than men. While the craving may not come from a chocolate deficiency, per se, there are several components in chocolate that the body may become deficient in, especially magnesium and antioxidants.
Chocolate can also affect the brain, leading to an increase in neurotransmitters and dopamine and a feeling of happiness.
In studies, chocolate cravings seems especially tied to hormone changes (menstruation, pregnancy, etc) and the magnesium in chocolate, as well as its ability to affect neurotransmitters may be a large part of the reason.
Magnesium in Chocolate is not the highest magnesium food available, though it does make the top ten list. It is the only top-ten magnesium food that also is known for its ability to promote neurotransmitter activity and dopamine production, so this combination makes it especially desirable during hormone imbalance. Other foods, like leafy greens, figs, avocados, and nuts are higher in magnesium per gram, but dark chocolate has 327 milligrams of magnesium per 100 grams.
Since experts estimate that 80% of us (or more) are deficient in magnesium, it is important to find ways to increase magnesium levels in the body. I’ve noticed that when I am consuming enough magnesium-rich foods, I don’t have PMS or other hormone struggles.
The basic fact that chocolate tastes good and we enjoy eating it means that the body releases dopamine during chocolate consumption. Chocolate also increases serotonin in the brain, a neurotransmitter responsible for better mood, sleep, and reduction of anxiety.
Women have a natural decrease in serotonin in the brain in the week before menstruation, so this may partially explain the specific craving for chocolate during this time.
Chocolate also contains theobromine, a chemical known to increase heart rate and energy, as well as arousal. Plus it has antioxidants and decent amounts of flavonols, which are said to be anti-aging and promote healthy blood flow and blood pressure.