Archive for February 23rd, 2023

It’s not always bad news…

Reason #18- Chocolate

Devil’s food cake with dark chocolate frosting — that’s my all-time favorite dessert.  Like most people, I’ve had a love affair with the cocoa bean as long as I can remember.  Why do we love chocolate so?

Quora.com explains it this way:  “The basic fact that chocolate tastes good and we enjoy eating it means that the body releases dopamine during chocolate consumption. … Chocolate also contains theobromine, a chemical known to increase heart rate and energy, as well as arousal.”  Dopamine is the same chemical our brains release during sex, an adventurous experience or an especially gregarious laugh.  Enough said.

Lovers give chocolate when jewelry just won’t do.  According to History.com, almost 60 million pounds of chocolate are purchased in the U.S. during Valentine’s Day week, proving an instinctual knowledge that the treat is a very successful way to someone’s heart.  Rich chocolate pairs with red wine splendidly, each enhancing the other and bringing an almost euphoric reaction to the taste.  For good reason, a box of chocolates (“You never know what you’re going to get.”) is a staple for any husband in the doghouse.  Only chocolate or chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream will do for binging after a break-up.  Attend any convention’s social hour and watch the crowd gather around the chocolate fountain with glee.

As much as you might like chocolate, it might be satisfying to know that there are a multitude of health benefits to indulging.  Studies have shown that the flavonoids in chocolate can help keep your veins and arteries supple.  Results also showed that participants in studies who were given several helpings of dark chocolate each week had significantly lowered their risk of heart attacks and strokes.  One study even showed a lower risk of severe sunburn!  Flavanols in hot cocoa provided an increased flow of blood to the brain and improved math skills.  Subjects given bars of dark chocolate were shown to have overall lower LDL cholesterol levels.  One extract from cocoa, lavado, can actually reduce the damage done to vital pathways to the brain by Alzheimer’s disease.  Chocolate can help to lower your blood pressure and increase endorphins, thereby helping prevent depression and other mental disorders.

It’s been proven that white chocolate does not affect the brain the same as its brown counterpart and that you generally don’t crave sweeter chocolate more than other types.  In fact, chocolate that is less sweet also has less calories, and dark, smooth, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate can change your outlook on your whole day.  We also know that having a small portion of dark chocolate can reduce food cravings, potentially saving you from binging on higher calorie treats.

I believe that if Hershey, Ghirardelli and Mars were to all shut down at once, no pandemic could match our collective reaction. Congress would act immediately to stem the crisis and the President would sign whatever bill he or she was presented, partisan politics be damned.


My ending quote for this topic comes from British comedian Tommy Cooper: “My wife said, ‘Take me in your arms and whisper something soft and sweet.’  I said, ‘chocolate fudge.’

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