With Valentines Day just around the corner, I can’t think of a single woman out there who isn’t hoping to get at least a tiny box of their sinful salvation: Chocolate. It comes in all shapes and colors, covers just about anything you can imagine, and is never an unwelcome gift. So this Valentines Day when you are trying to pick out sweets for your sweet, consider these little-known facts about chocolate.
1). The Mayans and Aztecs believed that the Cocoa Beans originated from Paradise and would bring wisdom and power to anyone consuming them.
2). Emperor Montezuma of Mexico partook a Chocolate drink before entering his harem. This gave rise to the notion of Chocolate having aphrodisiac properties. The Italian adventurer Giacomo Casanova was another fellow who subscribed to this notion. There is some truth to the idea though, since Chocolate contains hundreds of chemicals including the feel-good stimulants – Caffeine, Theobromine, and Phenyethylamine.
3). Even though Chocolate is high in fat, it does not appear to raise blood cholesterol.
4). Chocolate is a great economy booster. Annual world consumption of cocoa beans averages approximately 600,000 tons per year. Consumers worldwide spend more than $20 billion a year on Chocolate.
5). Chocolate was such as a prestigious luxury that the French Ruler, Louis XIV, also known as the “Sun King”, established a court position entitled Royal Chocolate Maker to the King.
6). In 1907, the iconic Milk Chocolate Hershey’s Kisses were introduced. They are one of the most successful chocolates and Hershey produces approximately 20-25 million per day in a variety of flavors.
7). Chocolate has long been heralded for its value as an energy source. Think of it this way: a single chocolate chip provides sufficient food energy for an adult to walk 150 feet; hence, it would take about 35 chocolate chips to go a mile, or 875,000 for an around-the-world hike.
8). The smell of chocolate may increase theta brain waves, resulting in relaxation.
9). Chocolate increases antioxidant levels in the blood while the flavanoids in chocolate may help keep blood vessels elastic.
10). Placebo-controlled trials suggest chocolate consumption may subtly enhance cognitive performance. As reported by Dr Bryan Raudenbush (2006), scores for verbal and visual memory are raised by eating chocolate. Impulse-control and reaction-time are also improved.
In closing, I’ll leave you with this adorable quote: “All I really need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt!” – Lucy Van Pelt (in Peanuts, by Charles M. Schulz)