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The Chocolate Allure

Long ago the Aztecs believed that cacao was brought to them on the beam of the morning star as a gift from the god Quetzalcoatl. When cacao made its journey to Europe, scientists named the plant Theobroma which means "food of the gods" in Greek. Cacao has been a revered substance for thousands of years, enjoyed, savored, and used for medicinal, spiritual and culinary purposes throughout the world.

To this day, however, we struggle to understand the alluring qualities of this magical food. Cacao contains over 300 compounds and is known to have psychochemical effects on the central nervous system enhancing feelings of wellbeing and pleasure. It also contains nutrients that are known to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and provide a variety of other physical health benefits.

Chocolate is said to amplify feelings of love, which is perhaps why it is often associated with romance and traditionally given as a Valentine’s Day gift. It is also said to increase focus, enhance creativity, extend memory, and promote relaxation. What a myriad of fantastic qualities this delicacy brings.

Whatever your reason for eating chocolate, savor it and enjoy every last bite!Jennifer

What's so good about chocolate

These substances makes you feel good:

  • Phenethylamine is the same substance that can be found in the brain when you are in love.
  • Anandamine creates a mild form of euphoria
  • Methylxanthines which are stimulants; theobromine and theophylline don’t give you the coffee jolt but work slowly to up your energy level.

These substances are good for you:

  • Polyphenols are the same antioxidants that you’ve been getting from your red wine and green tea.
  • Magnesium promotes muscle relaxation and is critical for energy production and proper nerve function.
  • Copper prevents anemia and ensures that iron makes effective hemoglobin.
  • Cocoa butter stays liquid at normal body temperature which help prevent it from blocking your arteries.

About antioxidants and chocolate

The Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) test examines the antioxidant levels in food. The higher the ORAC score, the higher the level of antioxidants. Note where cacao nibs fall on the chart:

Antioxidants in Cocoa

Source: US Department of Agriculture /Journal of the American Chemical Society

Most Interesting Links:

CHOCOLATE : the Psychoactive Cocktail

Chocolate & Cardiovascular Health

Chocolate: Food of the Gods - historical info

Sweet! Wierd ways chocolate keeps you healthy

Chocolate Facts

Top Ten Scientific Reasons Why Chocolate Is The World’s Most Perfect Food

More Links:

The True Power of Chocolate

Chocolate and your health: Guilty pleasure or terrific treat?

Chocolate for Life

Chocolate 'may help keep people slim'

Chocolate Good for Heart and Soul … and May Improve Minds


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