In one particular Snickers commercial, a football player turns into Joan Collins, or ‘a right diva’, when he hasn’t had a bite of chocolate.
This pretty much sums up my relationship with the cocoa bean. Deprive me of daily dose, and I will unleash hell. Keyboard buttons will come undone. Printers will be thrown across the room. Doors will be slammed, and someone will be reduced to tears.
Don’t worry, all of that’s a hyperbole. But many other choccie addicts can vouch for the restlessness and irritability we get when we haven’t had our fix, whatever form it may come in. As a community, we empathise with smokers – our withdrawal symptoms are very much akin to theirs. In fact, my injection of chocolate coincides with my colleagues’ cigarette break. Delay my consumption, and reason and rationality will fly out the window… as will the desk.
Contrary to popular belief, there are a lot of chocoholics who don’t really need to eat large amounts of it to soothe their senses. I actually find the idea of gorging on a gluttonous amount revolting. All we really need is a gram or two, and we’re done. However, those few grams must be scheduled throughout the day to get us through it. The tiny morsels that we feed on give us that shot of adrenaline that’ll keep us focused for the next few hours.
This is why I grinned like a proud purring pussycat when news spread that eating chocolate is actually good for you. I did however squirm uncomfortably and reach for my Lion bar when I read that it mainly applies to dark and purely cocoa-based chocolate.
Thankfully, further studies covered the benefits of milk chocolate as well, and this came as a relief considering that good quality fair trade dark chocolate is on sale for a ludicrously atrocious price (I’ve seen ransom notes asking for less). Also, its bitter flavour isn’t to everyone’s taste.
Chocolate in moderation has been proven to promote a healthier lifestyle. Several universities, including the University of Aberdeen, have researched the effects of this food of the gods and have come up with some very pleasant results.
When a couple of grams are consumed every day, milk chocolate was found to lower the risk of heart disease and strokes. This is because cocoa contains flavonoids – an antioxidant that stimulates blood flow – and valeric acid – a natural form of tranquilliser. Its richness in antioxidants also lessens the chance of arthritis later on in years.
Since those who enjoy it experience the release of endorphins, that in itself lowers one’s stress levels. It’s no wonder J.K. Rowling had chosen chocolate to be the antidote for a Dementor attack. Moreover, all of the above are key contributors to its cognitive-boosting properties. As it’s a natural source of magnesium, chocolate aids brain function by enhancing concentration and alertness, since magnesium is key to the brain’s well-being.
So, taking into account that it will overall make you feel better, happier, healthier and smarter, chocolate will undoubtedly increase your general productivity. Nonetheless, I hardly think people need scientific justification to tell them that chocolate is a healthy pleasure. However, maintaining a small but regular intake is crucial, as there is a high level of sugar in most average bars. This is something that comes with discipline.
The studies had also shown that if consumed properly, it can actually help with weight loss, so you can let this be your motivation. If you allow for a cube of chocolate to roll and melt in your mouth for a few minutes, you’ll be left feeling full, which will thereby stop you from snacking throughout the day. Naturally, it’s always best to consult with your doctor or nutritionist to plan out a suitable schedule. Other than that, enjoy!