Is chocolate really a magical cure?

Hormonal woman? Give her chocolate.

Upset child? Give them chocolate.

Need a gift? Give them chocolate.

Dementor attack? Give them chocolate (the person attacked… not the dementor… although maybe that would help their moods too).

Chocolate fixes everything from mood to magical attacks, but does it really, or is it just a very good marketing campaign from the chocolate manufacturers?

Did you know that we have been consuming chocolate for at least 4000 years? The Mayans and Aztecs would grind roast cocoa seeds to a powder, and make it into a drink, sweetened with honey, or with chili pepper for a kick. As time moved on, different ingredients were added and removed, making it the drink that we know today.

In 1847 the first chocolate bar was made, and 23 years later, chocolate Easter eggs came on the scene.

So, it is clearly a long-term favourite, but again… why? Is it all just Cadbury’s and their adverts?

It’s actually about chemistry.

Chocolate contains a psychoactive drug… caffeine. This increases heart rate and muscle contraction. Then there is theobromine which does a similar thing. Lastly, there is serotonin and tryptophan, neurotransmitters which control mood and behaviour. There are also parts that help bind these to the brain, again, affecting mood. It interesting that what you eat can effect so many different parts of the body.

These things, plus the mouth being the perfect temperature for melting chocolate to provide the feel-good sensation, all add up to making chocolate the perfect prescription for happiness.

The question is… how can we start getting doctors to prescribe it?

“No, no. I can’t share this, it is medicinal chocolate” could be good…

I should have a chat with the DocHQ team about this plan!

Eating to excess

Although dark chocolate has numerous health benefits due to its high cocoa content, consuming too much can be harmful for your health.

Chocolate does contain lots of butter, sugar and milk or cream. So by overindulging it may lead to weight gain, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

The melting chocolate in your mouth may cause tooth decay.

Excessive chocolate may lead to a burning sensation behind your chest and heart burn.

Also the high caffeine content may disrupt your sleep, cause a rapid heartbeat and increase anxiety.

So a little is good for you but try not to eat to excess. Like all foods, having a balanced diet to optimise your nutritional intake will boost your health and wellbeing.

Sometimes it is good to know the science behind the nicer things in life – check out the science behind hugs, superfoods for stress busting and the importance of taking a break.

Source: Simon Cotton

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