By Tara C.
I would like to direct your attention to a little story I came across the other day. The Secret to Genius? It Might Be More Chocolate describes the tongue-in-cheek report published in the New England Journal of Medicine about a correlation between a country's likelihood of producing a Nobel laureate and its appetite for chocolate. In short, a nation's per capita consumption of chocolate is related to the number of Nobel laureates it produces, i.e., more chocolate, more Nobel prize winners.
Whatever the true cause of this correlation might be, I think it provides a good opportunity to mention some of the possible benefits of chocolate, which include:
- Boosting heart health
- Improving blood flow and circulation
- Improving cognitive abilities
- Providing UV protection for your skin
- Reducing stress
Let us not forget that, since the Aztecs, many people have considered chocolate to be an aphrodisiac. While the scientic research on chocolate's aphrodiasiac properties have been mixed, according to this article, "it's plausible that chocolate contains a little love mojo: The neurotransmitters serotonin and anandamide both contribute to feelings of happiness and euphoria during sex. And both are found in chocolate."
Remember that not all chocolate is created equal. I don't think we can claim that my favorite Halloween candy is healthy. You will get the most health benefits from dark chocolate. Dark chocolate (65% or higher cocoa) has far more antioxidants than milk chocolate. The downside of chocolate is that it is high in calories and caffeine, so moderation is key.
Dark chocolate recipes:
- Dark chocolate and cherry brownies
- Dark chocolate mulled wine sauce
- Dark chocolate bark with pistachios, sweetened dried cherries, and pumpkin seeds
- Spiced hot dark chocolate
- Mocha pot de creme (pictured below)