I’ve heard of chocolate being an aphrodisiac, but a replacement for physical intimacy altogether? I find it hard to believe, but that’s what researchers at the www.MindLab.org, a private British research company, are saying.
They found that eating chocolate actually had a more stimulating effect on the body and the brain than kissing. Participants’ resting heart rates increased nearly 80 beats per minutes when they ate chocolate – a much higher increase than the one that occurred during kissing. And the effect lasted longer as well.
Chocolate also affected the brain much more intensely, and that boost also stuck around longer than the one sparked by kissing.
The researchers credit the stimulating effects to two substances found in chocolate – caffeine and pheylethylamine, a neurotransmitter that can raise levels of endorphins in the brain.
There is a catch though: The researchers found that these effects were maximised when the participants let the chocolate melt in their mouths. Think of it as an exercise in self-control for all you instant-gratification addicts out there.
One rule of thumb for chocolate: The darker it is, the better it is for you. But it’s getting easier and easier to find darker and darker chocolate. Many big brands are coming out with products that contain significant amounts of cacao, the main natural ingredient used to make chocolate. In its purest form, cacao is very bitter, so few chocoholics would opt for a product containing 100%, no matter how good it was for them.
But Lindt has a line that features a bar containing 70% cacao. And Nestle offers a line called “Chocolatier” containing up to 62% cacao. But there are also lots of organic chocolate varieties that contain even more cacao. Check your local natural food store to see what it carries.
Of course, no percentage of cacao can truly replace a great kiss from your husband or wife. But it certainly can’t hurt to get an extra-indulgent boost every now and then.
Source: Health Bytes e-letter, brought to you by Nutrition & Healing Newsletter and Dr Wright
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