Chocolate: The Aphrodisiac with Startling Health Benefits!

by | Feb 7, 2012 | Health & News

Yes! Chocolate is actually GOOD for you! (not to mention its ability to spice up your life in the bedroom)

For centuries, chocolate has been claimed to be an aphrodisiac, fueling libido. In fact, the early Aztecs in approximately 1100 BC were the first on record to draw a link between the cocoa bean and increased sexual desire. The emperor Montezuma was said to consume huge amounts of chocolate, produced from the seed of the tropical Theobroma cacao tree, to fuel his romantic trysts! (1)

Today, scientists speculate that the aphrodisiac qualities of chocolate involve two important substances contained within this decadent confection. The first is tryptophan, a building block of serotonin, a brain chemical involved in sexual arousal and sense of well-being. The other, is phenylethylamine, a stimulant related to amphetamine and released in the brain when people fall in love.

In fact, a recent BBC report indicated that melting chocolate in one’s mouth produced an increase in brain activity and heart rate that was more intense than that associated with passionate kissing. And this effect lasted four times as long after the amorous activity had ended! (2)

Yet, most researchers believe that the amounts of these two substances, tryptophan and phenylethylamine, in chocolate are too minimal to exert any measurable effect on love and desire. Unfortunately, the majority of studies have found no direct link between chocolate consumption and heightened sexual arousal… but keep reading for the REALLY good news!

Although the aphrodisiac quality may be more psychological than physical, there are definite health benefits from eating chocolate, specifically dark chocolate. According to research, eating limited amounts of dark chocolate appears to help prevent heart disease through its content of anti-oxidants, known as polyphenols. These polyphenols, also found in foods such as red wine and green tea, inhibit the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, the “bad” cholesterol. When LDL is oxidized, it sticks to arterial walls and produces plaque formation considered to be a major factor in the promotion of coronary heart disease.(3)

Recent research has also shown that dark chocolate can boost cognitive abilities, reduce blood pressure and reduce the incidence of diabetes (4) . Of course, we are referring to eating chocolate in small amounts, not the whole box! According to a study published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, adding one half ounce of dark chocolate to an average American diet daily, is enough to increase total antioxidant capacity by 4 percent, and lessen oxidation of LDL cholesterol.

So go ahead and indulge a little! You’ll boost your sexual drives… and promote healthy hearts!

Celebrate with one of my favorite desserts – a piece of dark organic chocolate coupled with a fine glass of Pinot Noir!

Citations:
1) Kerr, Justin. “Chocolate: A Mesoamerican Luxury 1200 – 1521 – Obtaining Cacao”. Field Museum. https://archive.fieldmuseum.org/Chocolate/history_mesoamerican7.html.
2) “Chocolate better than kissing.” BBC News. 16, April 2007
3) Keen CL, Holt RR, Oteiza PI, Fraga CG, Schmitz HH. Cocoa antioxidants and cardiovascular health. Am J Clin Nutr 2005;80(suppl):1S–6S.
4) Grassi D, Lippi C, Necozione S, Desideri G, Ferri C. Short-term administration of dark chocolate is followed by a significant increase in insulin sensitivity and a decrease in blood pressure in healthy persons. Am J Clin Nutr 2004;81:611.

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