Is Chocolate Really The Food Of Love?
Is chocolate the food of love? We've all heard rumours of chocolate's aphrodisiac properties. Is there truth in this? Can foods like chocolate be aphrodisiacs or is this just a case of the placebo effect? These burning questions lead us way back in history to the Mayans.
THE HISTORY OF CHOCOLATE
We know that the Mayans were using the cocoa bean as currency. While the beans were said to have aphrodisiac properties, this may not necessarily show up in the history books. As well as being the common currency, cocoa beans were also documented as payment for concubines. This suggests that the aphrodisiac qualities of chocolate may have been used by the concubines to increase sexual desire in themselves and their ancient clients.
The Aztec ruler of Central America, Montezuma's consumption of the cacao bean is more clearly associated with his sexual pursuits. It is said that he would be drinking chocolate or consuming copious amounts of cacao elixir before heading to his harems and with 200 wives, fueling his desires and sex drive was a must.
GIACAMO CASANOVA AND CHOCOLATE
Another famous lover in history, Casanova, also makes the case for chocolate being linked to sexual function. He reportedly purported that chocolate was only second to champagne when it came to wooing women and that the allure of his prowess and creamy chocolate was all that it took to play upon the craving prone. He was also known to consume chocolate to improve his ability to exude energy for "certain activities".
COURTSHIP IN THE 20TH CENTURY
At the turn of the 20th century, chocolate truffles were often a gift of courtship and while the gesture is perceived as romance, scholars also suggest that in the era when sexuality was becoming more of a topic of conversation and its acceptance more widely acknowledged, this gift may have also been a symbol of sexual advances towards the recipient.
These anecdotal stories of the past would suggest that chocolate consumption and sex drive go hand in hand, but as science has entered the picture, we have learned more about foods' effect on the brain and about psychology versus physiology when it comes to consuming certain foods. Read our guide 'Food that is good for the brain' to learn more.
WHAT IS IN CHOCOLATE, EXACTLY?
What we know with certainty is that certain foods, including chocolate, contain phenylethylamine, a stimulant, and serotonin, which interacts with chemicals in our brains to boost our moods and sex hormones.
CHOCOLATE THE LANGUAGE OF LOVE
Known as the “drug of love”, it has been said that eating chocolate stimulates the hypothalamus, a very important part of our brain that is in charge of hormone production. The joyous response we get when eating chocolate comes from the hypothalamus, as it stimulates the release of serotonin and a resultant pleasurable feeling.
Thanks for your amazing support! Stay tuned for more Chocolate Chats and interesting facts and information from this Chocolate Queen. M xx