Chocolate for Life

Our story begins in ancient central America where cacao grows in the Amazon forest, a Mayan woman is grinding fermented and dried cacao seeds in stoneware to a cacao paste. She then mixes it with water, chili peppers and corn meal. She stands and pours the mixture into a container below. Pouring from container into another container as it froths until the mixture is a nice frothy drink. It’s much more bitter than the hot chocolate we drink today because it didn’t have sweeteners and junk in it. They knew what was up with that yummy bean back then. Cacao was known for it’s invigorating, mood enhancing and aphrodisiac qualities as early as 4,000 years ago. They knew what was up with chocolate.

These health benefits and qualities can still be found, if you are using the right kind of chocolate correctly. They knew what they were doing even before technology told them chocolate was good for them.  The Mayans had enough cacao for everyone to enjoy the sacred bean. They later started using it as currency with the Aztecs, the Aztecs approached it a little differently. And the way they did it was pretty stupid.

Only the elite Aztecs could enjoy cacao. The 16th century Emperor Montezuma was said to drink a lot to improve his success with the ladies and some records show 3 gallons a day. (1) That’s a lot of cacao! While he drank so much, it was forbidden for women to drink it because of its stimulating effects. Well, he would have had more success if he had been giving some of that sweet cacao to the ladies. Emperor or not, cacao is going to improve your success.

Chocolate Equals Success with the Ladies (and the Guys)

Well, ideally only one lady. That’s all we need, if we keep her happy, right guys? There are massive benefits to enjoying good quality cacao but some of these benefits will directly impact that success with the ladies. Hear what I’m saying? I have more to tell you.

Chocolate and Good Feelings

For starters, chocolate puts us in a darn good mood. What it does is mimic the neurotransmitters and can help us produce some of these neurotransmitters that can cause a massive mood change – a mood change to the better.

It helps balance those mood regulating hormones. Chocolate boosts dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin- these love chemicals tell your brain you are calm, relaxed and ready for love. Chocolate is the biggest serotonin-based food on the planet plus it helps your gut make more of it. Phenylethylamine (PEA) is a neurotransmitter found in our body at higher levels when we are in love or experiencing the euphoria of love and this love chemical is also found in chocolate.

Cacao is great for women’s hormones. It boosts neurotransmitters and balances hormones. As a doc who deals with hormones everyday- you need cacao to build healthy hormones. Yes, ladies- quote me on it and yes, guys go get some cacao for your ladies!

The response in men is very different maybe because they don’t have as many hormones to regulate. So, men understand this, women relate chocolate to sex.  So again, men, be very good to your wife or she will replace you with a chocolate bar. Ladies, please don’t replace us with a chocolate bar!

Chocolate and Theobromine

Good, old raw cacao really dominates in one area that significantly affects our brain and that’s theobromine. It’s also why chocolate gets a bad rep. Everybody thinks chocolate has a lot of caffeine in it but it’s only there in small amounts. It’s actually theobromine that gives chocolate it’s stimulating effects.

Theobromine is a sister chemical to caffeine. It has a mild stimulating effect and enhances the mood. Chocolate gives us a real euphoric effect and makes us feel good.  It fits right in with a lot of the other great chemicals in cacao. Theobromine is also a vasodilator. It dilates blood vessels and also pores allowing for better absorption of nutrients. Bonus suggestion for the guys- get some nice cacao butter for a massage. That theobromine will make sure all the good stuff will get in there to make her feel good. Ladies, I suggest this coffee mask that also has cacao.

Chocolate and Nutrients

Speaking of absorption of nutrients – cacao is packed with them. The amount of magnesium, zinc, iron, phosphorous, chromium and different nutrients is in astronomical amounts for a food. The amount of magnesium alone it gives you is a great reason to enjoy cacao.

Magnesium increases energy, calms your nerves, relaxes your muscles and here’s an important one, so your chocolate plans don’t get derailed, it prevents migraine headaches.

Try this yummy GF Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Recipe

Chocolate and Antioxidants

Blueberries are known for their high levels of antioxidants. Cacao has 40 times the antioxidants of blueberries!  What are antioxidants good for? When you take a bite of an apple then you set it down and it browns- its oxidizing. Antioxidants help with aging and absorb the free radicals in your body.  Free radicals are toxins and pollutants we come in contact with all the time. So, having more antioxidants is a good thing.

Chocolate and Cardiovascular Health

You can’t talk about chocolate love without talking about the amazing heart benefits. Those who eat chocolate are less likely to have a heart attack or cardiovascular event. It lowers blood pressure and improves blood flow from the heart to the brain. Why is this important to know? Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women and men.

Cacao is full of polyphenols and flavanols that reduce inflammation making your cardiovascular system much healthier. A little chocolate can keep your heart going and loving.

Keep That Chocolate Pure

When I was in graduate school, I was learning about all the amazing benefits of chocolate. So, I went out and I got a really good quality chocolate bar. Blech. It’s really bitter! I don’t know how the Mayans did it, but they enjoyed the benefits.

When mixing, remember to stay away from things that don’t belong there. Milk and chocolate don’t belong together and most chocolate bars have milk in there. Stay away from processed sugars and artificial sweeteners in your chocolate too. Enjoy your good raw cacao mixed with a good sweetener like xylitol, honey, stevia or maple syrup.

You can also dip fruits in it and add it to other healthy foods. Understand, adding that good raw cacao to some of the greatest nutrients will move our body into a very good skin state, mood, heart, blood pressure, and other massive benefits.

On the flip side, that theobromine is still in the crappy chocolate. When you eat crappy processed chocolate and crappy sugar, the theobromine will drive all the bad things like chemicals and sweeteners into your body. When they process chocolate, they add caffeine. For people who don’t understand chocolate they think it’s bad for you. No, your Hershey’s kiss is bad for you it has milk, caffeine and other bad things.

If you have crappy chocolate and the theobromine drives all the crappy ingredients into your body, guess how you are going to feel. Yeah, that’s right- crappy. But you aren’t going to be that person. You stayed with me this far. Now you know better!

Chocolate for Life

Chocolate is one of the best foods on the planet. There are so many massive benefits, I could go on forever. I can’t stress this enough- I want you to go to the grocery store, the health food store, or Amazon (not the forest) to find the good stuff and feel free to indulge. You don’t have to grind it into a paste yourself, but you do have to get the good stuff. Don’t hold back on the chocolate for benefits that can make you feel better, live a happier life and have better hormones. It tastes good and it has massive healthy benefits. You got it now- go get that chocolate for life.

By Dr. Patrick Flynn

Check out the Cacao Quick Tips!