Chocolate— Nature’s Premier Aphrodisiac
Chocolate, perhaps the most decadent and sensual of all foods, takes top honor when ranking the world’s most fabulous mind-altering, mood-enhancing, and aphrodisiac foods. For over three thousand years, people have coveted cocoa for its taste, aroma, and the effects it has on the mind and body.
The evidence uncovered shines light onto why chocolate has long been regarded as a mood-enhancing, heart-healthy, and blissful food.
Not that we need another excuse to indulge, but modern science validates humankind’s fascination with chocolate. Over the last couple of decades, science has emerged suggesting that cocoa delivers extraordinary health benefits.
Chocolate benefits at a glance
- Heart Health
- Heart Health
Chocolate’s Chemistry is Complex.
Cocoa contains more than sever hundred known compounds. The most notable are polyphenols and the xanthine molecules, theobromine and caffeine. Cocoa is particularly dense in free-radical scavaging polyphenols.
In fact, cocoa has the highest polyphenol content of all known foods.
What are Polyphenols?
Polyphenols are a powerful group of antioxidant compounds commonly found in green tea and red wine. The nutrients appear to be beneficial to cardiovascular health.
Particular flavonols present in chocolate, including catechins, epicatechins, and proanthocyanidins, may support cardiovascular health and protect our cells from oxidative stress.
Chocolate & Heart Health
Blood Sugar Metabolism
The polyphenols in cacao help diminish the oxidation of LDL (low-density lipoproteins) cholesterol. In the world of men’s health, that is impressive.
After all, the oxidation of LDL a primary cause of heart disease heart attack and stroke.
Additionally, polyphenols protect against the hardening of the arteries by inhibiting the aggregation of blood platelets.
Epicatechin also aids the production of nitric oxide, a molecule that acts as a vasodilator relaxing blood vessels and promoting blood flow.
Blood Sugar Metabolism
Epicatechin, one of the flavonoids present in chocolate, improves the body’s glucose uptake by activating an insulin signaling pathway.
Chocolate — Brain Chemistry, Mood, & Sensuality
Interestingly, epicatechin may also provide oxygenation to the brain by increasing blood flow. Improved oxygenation of the brain may improve cognitive function while offering a protective role as we age.
Chocolate has a legendary reputation as a mind-altering, mood-boosting food. That’s not surprising, when you consider that the complex chemical compounds present in cacao enhance the production of critical neurotransmitters, serotonin and dopamine.
Considered the “feel-good” brain chemical, healthy levels of serotonin are believed to promote a sense of well being.
Dopamine, on the other hand, is what drives you and gives you the motivation to go out and achieve a targeted goal.
Perhaps this boosting of serotonin and dopamine provide some of chocolate’s mood-elevating and nootropic (mind-enhancing) properties. After all, millions of people across the globe indulge in chocolate daily to boost mood, energy, and concentration, many claiming it enhances their sense of wellbeing.
Is Cocoa a Stimulant?
Although not a particularly powerful stimulant, chocolate provides a multitude of chemical compounds that seem to have a profound effect on the mind and body. Remarkably, cacao is one of the most chemically-rich known foods on Earth.
Theobromine & Caffeine
As mentioned above, Cacao contains the xanthine molecules theobromine and caffeine.
The caffeine content of chocolate is relatively small when compared to that of coffee. However, the synergy provided by caffeine and theobromine contributes to the energizing and mood-boosting effects of chocolate.
Theobromine is considered to be one of the most critical components of chocolate. Although its less potent than caffeine, theobromine provides a stimulating effect on the CNS (central nervous system). The presence of both caffeine and theobromine may positively contribute to the overall mood-modifying effect of this ambrosial food.
Anandamide— Is that what makes chocolate so blissful?
Anandamide is another enhancing mood compound found in cocoa. Categorized as a cannabinoid, Anandamide is a member of the same psychoactive substances found in cannabis.
Anandamide is widely understood to provide a blissful state of mind. It binds to the same receptor sites in the brain as THC (an intoxicating chemical present in marijuana) inducing a peaceful state of euphoria.
The Worlds Most Sensual Food
What makes chocolate so romantic?
Another mood-altering component of chocolate is PEA (phenethylamine). Although chocolate contains small amounts, PEA stimulates the CNS triggering the release of pleasure-inducing endorphins.
Chocolate is for Lovers
Interestingly, PEA increases during orgasm as well as when we fall in love. Also, it boosts the effects of dopamine, another neurotransmitter known to illicit pleasure and to stimulate arousal.
Chocolate is often associated with love and romance due to these exceptional properties.
Quantity or Synergy?
Some scientists scoff at the notion that chocolate delivers sufficient quantities of PEA or Anandamide to illicit mood-enhancing effect. However, others point to the synergy provided by a complex chemical structure that rivals the most chemically rich foods on the planet.
Whatever the case, most would agree that chocolate is amongst the sexiest foods on the planet. After all, people have celebrated cacao for thousands of years as a mind-altering concoction, aphrodisiac, and delicacy.
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