What better news could we have on National Chocolate Day? Apart from the obvious joy of indulging in a moment of cocoa bliss, there are many additional advantages to our health, and also our sex drive, when we eat dark chocolate. A study by the UK's leading dating site for married people, IllicitEncounters.com, has revealed that 78% of women say eating dark chocolate presses their buttons, and puts them in the mood for love.
These ladies will be feeling the benefits of L-arginine. Contained in chocolate, this amino acid can be an effective natural sex-enhancer for both women and men. It works by increasing nitric oxide and promoting blood flow to your sexual organs, so there is a lot more to buying your sweetheart a heart shaped box of chocolates than meets to eye, with hidden benefits for both of you.
While 78% of the 4,000 women IllicitEncounters.com surveyed said that dark chocolate increased their sexual appetite, 48% said they would be put off if a lover bought her a 'cheap' box of milk chocolates, and rightly so.
One member: Sally, 47, from London said: "Chocolate does get me in the mood, but it has to be high quality dark chocolate. There is something very arousing about the way chocolate melts in your mouth, it is one of the most sensual experiences in my opinion." Sally is absolutely right; all chocolate is not created equal. It goes through several steps to reduce the strong pungent flavour of pure cocoa, meaning flavonols are lost along the way, but dark chocolate, after natural cocoa powder and baking chocolate, comes third for pure flavour, with milk chocolate at the bottom of the taste list.
Spokesperson for IllicitEncounters, Rosie Freeman-Jones adds: "The qualities of dark chocolate are not just limited to a Cadbury's Flake moment relaxing in the bath - although the cult advert is right to link chocolate and sex.The ancient beliefs held dear by The Aztecs and the aphrodisiac qualities of chocolate are absolutely true. Chocolate packs an aphrodisiac punch because it contains the compound theobromine, also found in tea and kola nuts, the substance works on the central nervous system, causing one to feel stimulated and excited - which was backed up by the female members we spoke to in our research."
But the sweet treats don't stop there; the heart, regarded as our emotional centre, flutters when we are in love and therefore we make a connection between a healthy heart and our capacity to love. L-arginine in chocolate lowers blood pressure, while the substance flavonol can aid the body's cells to resist damaged caused by free radicals. In the heart, this substance helps prevent atherosclerosis, or plaque buildup in the arteries, which also improves blood flow through the heart. Dark chocolate also possesses powerful substances that affect our moods and energy in positive ways.
But before you head down to Hotel Chocolat and stock up on candies with a night of passion hot on your agenda, remember if you're going to indulge in chocolate regularly - dark chocolate is the best. Make your choice as pure and unsweetened as possible. Extra temptations such as caramels and marshmallow will just add extra fat and calories to your pleasure, amounting in poor health and also anti-aphrodisiac effects, what a waste? Be good to yourself and stick to the quality brands such as Green and Blacks or Lindt, and your heart and your lover will thank you.
*According to a study published in the European Heart Journal, German researchers found people who had an average of six grams of chocolate per day (one square of a chocolate bar) had a 39 percent lower risk of either a heart attack or stroke.
by Rosie Freeman Jones