Theobromine is an alkaloid. It is an organic substance made from a plant organ. Its chemical compound is C7H8N4O2. It should be noted that this chemical compound is similar to that of caffeine. The term theobromine is a word derived from theobroma, which is the cacao tree’s generic name. In simple terms, it means “food of the Gods”. This leads us to say that this substance is present in chocolate. It was discovered in 1878 in the cacao tree’s seeds, and soon after, it was synthesized to become a full ingredient in chocolate.
Theobromine as a component of chocolate
More than 500 different varieties of the chemical components of chocolate are listed. Among them is theobromine, of which a considerable amount appears in cocoa beans. Chocolate is made with cocoa, sugar and cocoa butter. As a result, the presence of theobromine in chocolate depends on its cocoa content. In 100g of dark chocolate, you will find 0.6g of theobromine. In milk chocolate, you will find 0.2g of theobromine. And in white chocolate, its presence cannot be detected. Aside from theobromine, there are also carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and trace elements in chocolate. But, theobromine content is not exclusive to the cocoa bean and to chocolate. This substance can also be found in low doses in the coffee beans, in mate leaves, in guarana, and in tea that we drink.
Advantages and disadvantages of theobromine
Consumption of theobromine can have various effects on the human body. Generally, it causes a feeling of well-being. Indeed, this substance is a mild stimulant that improves mood. It plays the role of an anti-depressant. In medicine, it is used as a cardiac stimulant and diuretic, that is to say it increases urinary secretion and is a vasodilator, as it has the function of dilating the blood vessels. Given the minimal amount of theobromine in chocolate, it has no adverse effect on health. However, ingested in large quantities, it is likely to increase the risk of prostate cancer in men. Otherwise, this substance can have the same effect as a drug on the body, and can cause addiction. It stimulates the nervous system and leads to an inhibition of fatigue. It also acts as a sexual stimulant with effects on the hypothalamus.
Eating chocolate has stimulating effects on the body! But watch out for abuse 🙂