Chocolate …. Indulge yourself !
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, we’ve been doing a bit of research about chocolate in preparation for this month’s promotion and we’ve discovered some amazing facts. Read on to discover a few interesting facts and the perceived and real emotional and health benefits it can bring.
We all know that a bit of “choc” makes us all feel good and we have to admit that chocolate stirs up emotions like no other food. Since its discovery, for centuries we have used it to express our feelings, soothe our bodies and minds and celebrate a variety of social festivities. Who else would know this better than the sweet toothed Brits and their love affair with chocolate.
As far back as the Ancient Mayan’s circa 2600 years ago and throughout history it has been used for both enjoyment and medicinal purposes.
Here are a few facts about chocolate:
- The Aztecs associated it with Xochiquetzal the goddess associated with concepts of fertility, beauty, and female sexual power. The Aztecs believed that cocoa seeds would bless anyone who ate them with spiritual wisdom, energy and enhanced sexual powers.
- Cocoa beans were introduced to Europe in the early 1500’s. Towards the end of the same century the Europeans removed the chilli pepper and added vanilla as well as sugar and milk to counteract the natural bitterness.
- It was regarded as an important luxury good and cocoa beans were used as currency. It was seen as a privilege to the elite and nobility until the early 1700’s with chocolate consumed in a bitter and spicy drink seasoned with vanilla, chilli pepper, and annatto. It was an acquired taste and not as we know it now but it was believed that chocolate could help fight fatigue and boost energy amongst other benefits.
- By the 17th century it was a luxury item among the European nobility.
- The solid modern chocolate bar as we know it today arrived in the mid-1800’s and the early chocolate makers were Fry’s, Cadbury, Lindt and Nestle – the names we still recognise and love today.
Chocolate and Health Benefits
Did you know that chocolate’s melting point is slightly below body temperature which means it melts in the mouth. As it melts it releases chemicals in the brain such as phenyl ethylamine which boosts energy levels and increases serotonin levels in the brain triggering sensations of pleasure. This is why we associate it with the feeling of love and feeling good.
Throughout history chocolate has been believed to have health benefits and it has been used in a variety of ways to dress wounds, give strength to boost energy and even to treat indigestion, nervous conditions and disease.
Today there is continued debate about the well-being and health benefits, including:
- Eating chocolate can help you live longer.
- Its antioxidants effect the ability to lower the risk of heart disease and lower blood pressure.
- As a body or skin treatment, it is especially beneficial and is very effective in improving circulation (due to its high caffeine content) as well as removing toxins and treating cellulite. This combined with massage techniques to increase lymphatic drainage makes chocolate body treatments an indulgent and beneficial treatment.
- Antioxidants in chocolate can also give your skin a plumper, firmer feel and help your cells build collagen and elastin. A known benefit of antioxidants is that it works throughout the skin to prevent damage from free radicals, the culprits responsible for aging skin and loss of elasticity. They also help the skin to retain moisture and combined with the natural oils in cocoa, known as cocoa butter, provides a deeply moisturising treatment.
Chocolate and Acne Myths
There is a common misunderstanding that eating chocolate can cause acne when in reality it does not. Pure chocolate such as higher % cocoa dark chocolate contains anti-oxidants, which aids skin complexion. However, the milk variety may contribute to acne because of the milk it contains can cause some sensitivity or allergy in some people. Acne in teenagers is really caused by excess oiliness which blocks the hair follicles and causes infection. Acne in adults is caused by hormonal imbalances which slows the desquamation or natural exfoliation process (see our post on exfoliation from 2nd February 2015). When the skin’s natural exfoliation process slows down it plugs the hair follicles and in turn oils can get trapped and infected.
This month we have an offer on chocolate massage so if you’d like to try the health benefits without the calories. Or if you are interested in knowing more about your skin and especially problem skin check out our Dermalogica Skincare Treatments. Please contact the Salon on 02392 380692 or email email@example.com or check out our promotions page for further information.