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The Profound Sensuality Of Chocolate

Written by: Dean Nelson, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight in their area of expertise.

 
Executive Contributor Dean Nelson

If one is to truly experience the profound sensuality of chocolate, one may be compelled to overindulge. I require massive restraint to avoid succumbing to the eminent allure of chocolate. Not just any chocolate—dark chocolate!


Woman in knit cap toss chocolate in the air

Some like it white, others like it milky, and multitudes of us like it dark. So, what inspires us chocolate lovers to lust for this ancient elixir of life? Is it the many ways it can be consumed in a plethora of sweet drinks, snacks, and desserts or savory dishes such as Mexican mole sauce? Chocolate’s health and happiness benefits are a huge attraction regardless of its form.

 

How it’s made

 

The journey from a cacao seed to a finished edible product is fascinating. Cacao seeds are very bitter and must be fermented for flavor development, then cleaned, dried, and roasted. The pod’s shell is removed to expose cacao nibs, which are ground into cocoa mass (unadulterated chocolate). Notice the spelling difference of cacao morphing into cocoa. Cacao becomes cocoa, or chocolate, during the process. The mass is heated until it is liquified, becoming chocolate liquor. This is the basic ingredient involved in creating cocoa solids and butter, baking chocolate, cocoa powder, various chocolate bars and candies, chocolate protein drinks and bars, chocolate cookies, cakes, pies, and an overabundance of chocolate-related products.

 

The elixir’s benefits of chocolate

 

Dark chocolate, without the high milk content of milk chocolate, offers the most health benefits. Seventy percent cocoa content or greater is the ideal. Chocolate contains powerful antioxidant flavonols, which fight inflammation in the body. It also features significant levels of theobromine, a stimulant similar to caffeine. Chocolate also has caffeine but in much smaller amounts.

 

Theobromine improves energy, enhances cognitive function, has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and supports heart and respiratory health. Johns Hopkins Medicine reports the benefits of dark chocolate in the Wellness and Prevention tab on its website as follows.

  1. Increases heart health: The antioxidants in dark chocolate have been shown to lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of clotting, and increase blood circulation to the heart, thus lowering the risks of stroke, coronary heart disease, and death from heart disease.

  2. Balances the immune system: Flavonols prevent the immune system from going into overdrive and reduce oxidative stress, which is an imbalance caused by cells fighting against free radicals and a common cause of many diseases.

  3. Combats diabetes: Epicatechin protects cells, makes them stronger and supports the processes that help the body to use insulin better, which might prevent or combat diabetes.

  4. Improves brain function: Flavonols in dark chocolate have a positive impact on brain function, including better reaction time, visual-spatial awareness, and stronger memory. Though research is ongoing, one reason for this may be that flavonols increase blood flow to the brain.

  5. Boosts athletic performance: The epicatechin in dark chocolate increases the production of nitric oxide in the blood, which supports circulation and reduces the amount of oxygen an athlete uses while engaged in moderately intense exercise. This allows the athlete to maintain workout intensity for longer.

  6. Reduces stress: People who ate dark chocolate reported that they felt less stressed, and researchers confirmed that after eating dark chocolate, there were reduced levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This may be related to dark chocolate’s effects on heart health since stress is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.


Remember, the higher the cocoa content, the higher the level of theobromine. As the cocoa content increases, the sugar content decreases. A fifty or sixty percent chocolate bar will have a much higher amount of sugar. Ninety percent cocoa content will be very strong and not tolerated by many. I prefer chocolate in the seventy to eighty percent range.

 

Other reasons to love it

 

The silky smooth, velvety texture and the complexity of flavors of a quality chocolate bar awaken my palate and invite a sensory experience unlike any other. It offers a momentary escape from day-to-day stressors and provides a detour into my passionate love affair with the magical potion. A premium quality chocolate bar without any other ingredients like nuts, creams, dried fruits, or flavorings offers me the most pleasurable taste experience. However, I do enjoy these others now and then. Dark chocolate’s subtle energy boost lifts me, provides focused attention, elevates my mood, and showers my senses with pleasure. A purist will appreciate a bar consisting of only chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, and sugar. Many manufacturers will add soy or sunflower lecithin as an emulsifier, vanilla or vanillin (artificially derived), and other artificial flavorings. Be sure to check the ingredients before you make your purchase.

 

If I have an opportunity on my deathbed for a final request, it will be Death by Chocolate. I don’t mean just the chocolate trifle or cake; I mean an overload of chocolate goodies—truffles, bars, cookies, flourless torte, double-dark chocolate ice cream with mini fudge cups, and more. It will be my final and fatal attraction!

 

I spread my chocolate addiction throughout each day with many small servings instead of overloading my senses with one large serving. Mixing it up with various brands and styles and exploring new products keeps things interesting and exciting. Try experimenting with the various ways chocolate can satisfy your craving for deliciousness. Expand your awareness and enhance your taste buds with chocolate goodness. It’s an experience you won’t want to miss out on in life.


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Dean Nelson Brainz Magazine
 

Dean Nelson, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Dean Nelson is the best-selling author of three self-help, inspirational, and motivational books with another in the works. For nearly 30 years, he spent countless hours attending seminars, researching, studying, and seeking out ways to awaken his potential. His sincerest passion and mission in life is to provide simple shortcuts to living a more fulfilled and inspired experience. For those who are struggling and ready for change, Nelson shares his enlightening psychology for those seeking an immediate positive transformation.

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