There's a reason why people gift their romantic interests or partners chocolate — it's because chocolate makes you fall in love. Well, sorta, kinda, maybe. Semantics. The sweet bitter scent of chocolate alone triggers happy lovely feelings. The smallest nibble of chocolate wraps a warm cashmere blanket around your tongue and long after you swallow that warmth remains. Even the aftertaste chocolate leaves in your mouth is enjoyable. It is perhaps one of the only foods that we don't want to wash away. Chocolate is both sensual and nostalgic. It feels like home and it feels like romance. It's your lover and your best friend. What other food has the power and complexity to make you think about sex in one context and childhood in another?
Oh and, it's also pretty good for you. Dark chocolate is not just good for your romantic heart, it's good for your organ heart. It can help to lower bad cholesterol, and it can work as an antioxidant. But most importantly, chocolate makes you happy — literally. All those warm gooey feelings you experience when you bite into a piece of chocolate are not in your head. Eh, well, actually they are exactly in your head.
So, for the rationalization of your chocolate obsession, I present you with four happy things that literally happen to your body when you indulge in a piece of chocolate ... brought to you by a girl who is literally burning a chocolate candle as she types.
Your Stress Melts Away
High quality chocolate contains valeric acid, which can act like a tranquilizer. So in small doses, chocolate can have a calming effect on us. (If you have too much, the sugar rush might to the opposite.) So if you're swamped with unanswered emails and just found out Drunk You went shopping last night and your dog just did a bunch of stuff on the carpet, break yourself off a slab and leeeeeet it goooo.
Your Mood Improves
That warm, content, full, peaceful feeling you get after a piece of chocolate is thanks to the brain hormones chocolate triggers. Yes, you guessed it — consumption of chocolate releases endorphins which set off a series of feel good sensations. (It's not all that surprising, then, that a group of surveyed women preferred chocolate to sex.)
Your Bad Cholesterol Levels Decrease
Studies show that consumption of dark chocolate can lower oxidized LDL (bad cholesterol). Simultaneously, dark chocolate can increase HDL levels (good cholesterol). Do yourself a favor and break off a piece.
You Feel More Alert
Yes! Chocolate makes you smarter! Kind of. The increase of blood flow to the brain can make chocolate eaters feel more alert, which can increase performance and functionality of the brain.
Now keep in mind, everything is best for you in moderation and if you're actively seeking chocolate to for its health benefits, make sure you're sticking to chocolate that's at least 70 percent cocoa. Your Halloween candy leftovers are delicious, but they will not yield the same positive effects that a dark, quality chocolate will. But either way, go follow your chocolate bliss!