Despite the romantic Valentine’s Day origins dating all the way back to Roman times, red roses and chocolate gifting have only been around since the1840’s. Technologies advanced in the successful extraction of cocoa butter from whole cocoa beans creating a growing trend for drinking chocolate. Not before long, heart shaped boxes and decadent chocolates made from the extracted cocoa butter entered the market, introduced by none other than a British man of the name Mr Richard Cadbury.
Chocolate is one of the most commonly craved foods of all time, also associated with aphrodisiac properties. For many, chocolate offers pleasure and enjoyment that can improve mood, even if it is just for a short amount of time. So what is it about chocolate that causes this heightened sense of happiness and does it really have powers to stimulate libido?
Positive experiences with food seem to play a major part in our desire for certain foods, even to the point of developing cravings. It’s about when we eat, what we eat, who is there with us and the total experience that drives this desire. So when we think about chocolate, experiences start in our early years with parties, special occasions, grandparents visits and trips to the local corner shop with spare change. Hard to beat this kind of happiness unless you have an allergy when it comes to enjoyment factor here.
Aphrodisiacs on the other hand are foods or drinks that are aimed at stimulating the ‘love’ senses being sight, smell, taste and touch. A lot of research has looked at different chemicals in cocoa as the culprits in eliciting what some call uncontrollable arousal. However, it appears the real cause is a lot simpler.
Experiences associating chocolate with positive sexual or sensual experiences can train your body into being aroused when its around. It’s the cocoa in chocolate that hold the biologically active ingredients hypothesised to impact our health and mood. Caffeine, theobromine, tyramine and phenylethylamine are all chemicals in cocoa that have been touted to be the culprits. Unfortunately the jury is out on all four – they aren’t found in high enough concentrations to have any psychoactive effects.
So if chocolate works for you and makes you happy, aroused and feeling sensual – all important things to our total wellbeing, be mindful of the quantity you eat. You don’t need a lot to get that pleasurable feeling so really create a total experience of complete sensory pleasure with the highest quality you can find.
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone. Watch our “Cherry Choc Heart video” for your special Valentine’s Day Treat!
Start sharing the love 🙂
Jenn Madz, Senior Dietitian