Chocolate can be a gift for body, mind and spirit – if used in moderation and meditatively. Americans’ love affair with chocolate tallies an astounding 3 billion pounds per year.
Given as a token of love on Valentine’s Day, it even loves us back – providing beneficial nutrients like iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium in addition to vitamins A, E and other antioxidants, dispelling our bad moods and literally providing food for thought by renewing our spirits and launching our meditations.
Dark chocolate, with its higher percentage of cocoa solids and the flavanols and antioxidants they contain, is particularly correlated with improvements in joint and arterial health and brain function, and lowering of hypertension and pre-menstrual tension. Chocolate has also been found to increase the level of serotonin in the brain, a neurotransmitter associated with lifting depression. Eating chocolate meditatively can balance our heart chakras, opening us up to greater love and compassion.
To test the theory that chocolate enhances mood, a study was conducted at the University of Pennsylvania, with students consuming the actual product vs. pills containing stimulants found in chocolate. The real product provided the best results, suggesting that it is not the chemical ingredients in chocolate that provide the euphoria, but the sensory experience… the delicious taste, seductive smell and silky smoothness. The researchers concluded that perhaps the mood-enhancing chemicals are just the icing on the cake.
Chocolate is a product derived from the fruit of the cacao tree, Theobroma cacao that means “food of the gods.” This tree evolved in the wild in South America where the Aztecs, Mayans and other ancient civilizations used the roasted cacao bean to make a bitter drink that was considered sacred.
Today, chocolate comes in many varieties, most of them sweetened to make it the candy of choice. Holistically, chocolate can be seen as a symbol of the sweetness of life and enjoying it can remind us that love is what satisfies us the most. By paying attention to the things we love, and appreciating those we love, we can powerfully design our lives around what fulfills us and gives our lives meaning. In this perspective, chocolate is to the soul what a massage is to the body.
Visit Chocolate Therapy for a meditation you can do in the time it takes to eat a piece of chocolate.