Valentine’s Day is here so of course, chocolate is on our minds! It’s really amazing that chocolate has and continues to play quite an interesting role in heart health, happiness, love, sex and beauty. They are all so intertwined.
Throughout history of over the past 2,000 years, chocolate has been known to have special powers. The earliest civilizations in Mexico, including the Maya, Olmecs and Aztecs believed cacao, the bean from which cocoa, cocoa butter and chocolate are made, was of a divine origin and given to them by the Gods. Chocolate was highly valued and honored as a health and vitality giving drink. It was not solid nor sweet like it is today with added sugar –those nuances came from the Europeans much later. Chocolate was reserved for use in marriage and fertility ceremonies due to the belief that had mystical and aphrodisiac qualities. Even the Aztec emperor Montezuma, who had 600 or so wives to keep happy, is reputed to have consumed fifty golden goblets of chocolate a day to enhance his sexual abilities.
The Aztecs shared their chocolate and its properties with the Spaniards in the 1500’s who eventually introduced chocolate as a tantalizing tonic and remedy to Europe, most afforded by the wealthy. Casanova is even said to have indulged in chocolate before seducing his women. And today even noted sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer says chocolate is a “wicked pleasure” and that “the taste of chocolate is a sensual pleasure in itself, existing in the same world as sex.” And the pleasurable sensation caused by this luscious substance melting at mouth temperature also plays a role in the sensuality of chocolate. I’m also pleased to add that my handcrafted chocolate at Luxx Chocolat have left people speechless and, in fact, described as “orgasmic”! It’s the combination of the smooth, creamy texture and the flavors, spices and fillings like mouth-watering sea salt caramel that consistently generate oh-inspiring responses.
Well it’s no wonder why chocolate is called the food of the gods. Its magical qualities in love and sex are due to a number of things.
Chocolate contains small amounts of several psychoactive chemicals that act as stimulants and mood elevators. When a person eats chocolate, these chemicals act on the nervous system in the same way as they do when the brain releases them. So, eating chocolate may induce some of the same feelings that love does, including sensations of euphoria and feelings of well-being, joy and pleasure.
Chocolate impacts serotonin which has an energizing effect. This increased energy may also improve longevity and stamina, which in turn frequently has the perceived effect of increasing libido.
Chocolate may increase blood flow to sexual organs. Chocolate contains L-arginine, an amino acid that can be an effective natural sex-enhancer for both women and men. It works by increasing nitric oxide and promoting blood flow to your sexual organs, which increases sensation, satisfaction, and desire.
The Aztecs were definitely onto something! And apparently chocolate has a stronger effect on the body chemistry of women than it does on men. So perhaps that nice box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day does more than you thought!
And let’s look at chocolate and the heart. Have you heard that chocolate contains flavonoids? Flavonoids offer potent antioxidant effects. Dark chocolate is a heart healthy super food. There are more and more studies available that link the flavonoids in dark chocolate to health benefits including reduced heart disease and hypertension. It can help prevent atherosclerosis, or plaque buildup in the arteries, which also improves blood flow through the heart. Studies lean towards the benefits are greater for men than women in this area. Men eating dark chocolate received more protection against heart disease and strokes than women. So here’s reason to give your man a nice box of dark chocolate!
Chocolate can positively affect our outer selves too. In the world of beauty, antioxidants play a huge role. These molecules protect skin from environmental damage. Antioxidants fight free radicals and slow down damage. Chocolate is also being seen as extremely rejuvenating and refreshing for the skin and is often used for its skin softening ingredients. The cocoa butter in chocolate is an exceptional natural moisturizer which makes skin soft and supple. Chocolate is now being used in various beauty treatments to smooth out the wrinkles and reduce scars and stretch marks. It’s even been see to provide UV protection. Some companies are claiming the potential for anti-inflammatory and blood vessel–constricting properties, which can reduce redness and puffiness of the skin, but more proof needs to be seen in this area. Also, here’s a great fact. There is a belief that chocolate causes acne. This is a myth. Multiple studies have disproven this notion. This is great news!
As a result of the proposed beauty benefits of chocolate, spa centers and beauty salons are making chocolate the rage and its gaining popularity every day. Special packages are commonly offered promoting chocolate beauty treatments; chocolate massages, body scrubs, masks, skin care, hair care, manicures, pedicures and the list goes on.
So chocolate is quite multifaceted! From our inside to our outside appearance, chocolate can play a role. Health, happiness, love, sex and beauty…what more could you want? We now have more and more reasons to incorporate chocolate into our daily lives and not just for Valentine’s Day and major holidays. Make it a part of your well-being! Just be smart and keep it in moderation.
Lisa Mecray Rogers, award-winning Master Chocolatier and Founder of Luxx Chocolat® xquisite artisan chocolate, ChocoVin Chocolate & Wine Tastings® and Luxx Academy du Chocolat offering classes with adults in mind, Ridgewood resident, recognized as one of 2017 Best Chocolatiers & Confectioners in America. Luxx Chocolat offers unique handcrafted works of art. Nothing artificial, no preservatives, not mass produced.