For the Love of Chocolate
Maple Ridge Farms understands our nation’s intense love affair with chocolate. If we ever stop appreciating this, our yearly sales statistics quickly bring it back into focus. Our chocolate items are consistently among our top sellers. We decided to do a little searching to determine just what makes it such a hit!
Love of chocolate is nothing new. Known use of chocolate dates back to 1900 BC in Mesoamerica. Chocolate was introduced first in Spain, and then other European countries around 1600, and made its way to the United States around 1755. Once a culture embraced chocolate, its popularity invariably spread. So what is really behind the lure of chocolate? A guilty pleasure, a moment of bliss in a sweet? When we’re sad and stressed, what do we do? Many of us resort to chocolate. Is there some scientific truth to the mood boosting ability of chocolate? “Chocolate is cheaper than Therapy, and you don’t need an appointment” – author unknown
Here are the facts on the chemical composition of chocolate and how it can affect our moods. There are over 300 naturally-occurring chemicals in chocolate, some of which can affect the human brain. This includes some chemicals that produce the euphoric feeling in humans.
The most widely used psychoactive drug in the world is found naturally in chocolate – caffeine. It produces a stimulating physiological effect in the central nervous system. Caffeine acts upon dopamine and adenosine receptors which then release pleasure-producing chemicals. Chocolate also contains theobromine, which produces a natural high when combined with caffeine.
The endorphin enkephalin which reduces pain and produces pleasure is found in chocolate. Chocolate can emulate the initial feeling of falling in love, because it contains the chemical phenylethylamine, which is released in the first few months of a relationship. It is this brain chemical that makes you feel excited and nervous and can act as an antidepressant. Only very small amounts of it are present in chocolate, however, so it is uncertain if the effects can be felt. We suggest you try a healthy dose of chocolate yourself, and let us know! Scientists have also found small quantities of anadamide, known as the “bliss molecule” in chocolate. This neurotransmitter targets the brain the same way that THC does (the active ingredient found in cannabis that gives you a high.) However, to have a substantial impact on the brain, many pounds of chocolate would have to be consumed.
Some things in life you don’t need a scientific test for. Eating chocolate is one of those. If it tastes good and makes you feel good then enjoy your chocolate!
And be sure to spread the love! Show your customers love by offering them chocolate food gifts! Look beyond the 4th quarter holidays, and that famous chocolate holiday “Valentines Day” for other opportunities to profit from the sweet lure of chocolate. Chocolate, such as chocolate covered almonds or pretzels to bring traffic into tradeshow booths and job fairs, chocolate confections as meeting gifts, room gifts and pillow gifts. Just think of all the improved moods this chocolate consumption will provide!