Mmmm… chocolate! We’re always up for a bounty of chocolates, aren’t we? If you ask a die-hard chocolate fan like me, it’s hard to imagine a civilization without chocolates!
As with most fine things, chocolate has its season. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, these age old patrons of love are one of the most celebrated gifts. It may delight your sweetie to know that chocolates are being hailed as the new super-foods, courtesy, its rich antioxidant content and other good-for-you properties.
Back in time, chocolate (in its purest form) was praised for its medicinal properties. It was used as an energy drink and to cure diseases like jaundice, coughs, indigestion and gout problems. The word ‘chocolate’ is derived from The Aztec word, ‘Xocolatl’, which means ‘bitter water’.
We unwrap four reasons why chocolates can confess your love better than just words.
Pure pleasure: Aphrodisiac –
History is rich with stories of the Mayans worshiping the Cacao tree, from which the cacao beans, the principle ingredient of chocolates, are extracted. During the 16th century, the Aztec Emperor, Montezuma is known to have had a rich chocolate drink, from gold cups, about fifty times each day to pep up his sexual ability.
A research suggests that when someone is in love, the brain produces a chemical called phenylethylamine (PEA). It was found that chocolates contain this same ‘love-drug’, known to trigger romantic trysts. (More: What makes chocolate so irresistible?)
High on chocolate: Antidepressant –
If you’ve been wondering how eating-yourself-happy with a bar of chocolate teleports you from being down in the dumps to cloud nine, here’s something more for you to munch on. Dark chocolates are known to stimulate the production of endorphins, a chemical that sparks a feeling of euphoria.
It also contains the feel-good chemical, serotonin that acts as an antidepressant. It is known to alter the functions of the brain that positively affects our mood. Dark chocolates are credited with raising the serotonin levels in the brain.
A bar of anti-oxidants –
Here’s another reason for chocoholics to rejoice! Cocoa beans are naturally loaded anti-oxidant nutrients called flavonoids. These flavonoids have been creating some noise recently. It has been proven that the anti-oxidant activity of cocoa beans is equal to or higher than most super-foods like acai berry, blueberry, cranberry, and pomegranate.
The flavonoids are known to boost brain power, increase arterial blood flow, prevent clotting and promote healthy heart functions. They enable our body to produce nitric oxide that may help in lowering blood pressure.
A dark s(r)eduction for the diet conscious –
Chocolate fanatics wake up to a dream come true! Now, nibble on that dark chocolate bar without a guilty aftertaste! Research proves that dark chocolates have a high satiety value and therefore they make you feel full for a longer time.
They are packed with MUFA’S (monounsaturated fatty acids) that are known to boost your metabolism and burn fat! Before you let out a joyful shriek and grab that secretly hidden choco-bar, there’s more. When eaten in moderate (!) quantities, dark chocolate is known to slower the digestion process and curb cravings.
All said and done, an ardent chocolate devotee like me would tell you that one never needs a reason to chomp on chocolates! There is nothing like chocolate that melts your heart. This Valentine’s Day think out of the box (of chocolates!).