The Origin of Chocolate
Chocolate is made from the tropical tree Theobroma cacao.
Theobroma is the Greek word for "food of the gods."
The Aztecs used cacao beans to make a hot, frothy and bitter beverage called chocolatl. This concoction was sacred and was associated with fertility and wisdom.
The bitter drink was not mixed with milk, cocoa powder and cocoa butter to for what we now know as chocolate until 1876.
Chocolates Effect on The Body & Brain
Chocolate contains substances such as phenylethylamine, theobromine, anandamide and tryptophan. These substances trigger mood enhancing chemicals in the brain to create feelings of giddiness, attraction, euphoria and excitement.
Researchers believe that phenylethylamine causes the brain to release mesolimic dopamine in the pleasure centers of the brain, which peaks during an orgasm.
Theobromine has an effect similar to caffeine, but has only one-tenth of the effect. Theobromine also can increase the heart rate.
Scientists have found that anandamide produces a effect that mimics marijuana's effect on a person. Although a person would have to consume a whopping 25 pounds of chocolate to get "high" the body will feel more relaxed when the substance activates the cannabinoid receptors in the brain.
Tryptophan, an essential amino acid, plays a role in the production of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin is a calming neurotransmitter that makes people feel realized and satisfied and is essential for a well-balanced mood. This effect is great to relieve anxiety.
Health Benefit of Eating Chocolate
Women's bodies scream for chocolate when premenstrual food cravings surface. Researchers argue that this craving is because chocolate contains high levels of magnesium. For you see that women's bodies experience magnesium deficiency prior to menstruation.
Chocolate contains many essential vitamins and minerals such as: B-6, folic acid, niacin, iron, and vitamin C. Others may be included depending on the ingredients used, these are these vitamins and minerals are all included in cocoa and milk.
Phenolics, which are found in small amounts in chocolate, are found to help lower the risks of heart disease.
In a study at Harvard University followed 7,841 male graduates and found a correlation between eating a moderate amount of chocolate and longevity. Those who ate one to three chocolate candy bar a month had a 36% lower risk of death than those who abstained. This can mean many things, but if nothing else chocolate is a good luck charm.