What is the definition of a drug? Most would agree that it means medicine or any other substance that has a physiological effect when ingested or otherwise introduced into the body. Well, there you go—chocolate clearly is a drug by those standards. It not only makes you feel better but it also improves your memory and stimulates your abstract thinking. But you have to inject it at least once a week. Into your mouth that is.
Psychologist Merrill Elias, a lead researcher on a recent study published in the journal Appetite, told the Washington Post about the study’s remarkable conclusion that chocolate consumption can indeed make you smarter. The study was done over the course of 40 years, starting in the mid-1970s. Elias, along with Georgina Crichton, a nutrition researcher at the University of South Australia, said that there is a significant difference between people who eat chocolate at least once a week and those who do this less than once a week and that it strongly affects cognitive ability. The effect is especially recognisable when it comes to daily tasks, “such as remembering a phone number, or your shopping list, or being able to do two things at once, like talking and driving at the same time.”
Anti-aging and Anti-depressant
So why does chocolate make you smarter? Elias doesn’t have the ultimate answer, but he does have some ideas. He knows that the natural flavanols in cacao can reduce cognitive dysfunction due to aging and that the flavanols might increase blood flow to the brain, which can result in a positive influence on psychological processes. Chocolate also contains theobromine, an important alkaloid in cacao. Theobromine increases urine production, it can treat high blood pressure, and it shows promise for tooth decay prevention. But best of all, it makes you feel good (as long as you consume chocolate in small portions).
So…chocolate makes you feel good, right?
That brings us back to the subject of drugs. Governments display double standards when it comes to drugs. They have no objection when large populations become addicted to valium or other anti-depressants. They have no problems with the drugs that are by far the biggest killers: alcohol and cigarettes. But when people become too relaxed with substances like ecstasy and marijuana, they declare war on these stimulants. So what will happen with chocolate?
War on Chocolate
The Netherlands is the world’s biggest producer of ecstasy. The Dutch government does everything in its power to battle the production of this drug, but ecstasy is far tougher than you might expect from a love drug. Now let’s go back to the subject of chocolate and cacao, the base material of the brown gold. Who is still the world’s biggest importer and processor of cacao? You guessed it: the Netherlands. So how long will it take before chocolate consumption and production become illegal? How long before the news is dominated by reports about raids on chocolate stores and small bean-to- bar producers? What about addicted mothers paying dodgy dealers in dark alleys? Until that happens, enjoy your chocolate while you still can. Enjoy the abundance of taste and variety. Bon appetite, or better—bon bite!