What is the definition of a drug? Medicine or other substance which has a physiological effect when ingested or otherwise introduced into the body. Well, there you go. Then 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. In your mouth that is.
Psychologist Merrill Elias, one of the leaders of a recent study published in the journal Appetite told the Washington Post about the remarkable conclusion that chocolate consumption indeed can make you smarter. The study was done during a lifespan of 40 years, starting in the mid-1970’s. Elias and 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 recognizable 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”.
So why does chocolate makes you smarter? Elias doesn’t have the ultimate answer, but he has some ideas about this. He knows that the natural flavanols in cacao can reduce cognitive dysfunction due to aging, and that the flavanols might increase the 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; it shows promise for tooth decay prevention. But the best of all: it makes you feel good (as long as you consume chocolate in small portions).
Feel good right? That brings us back to the drugs subject. Governments show double standards when it comes to drugs. They have no objection when whole tribes become addicted to valium or other anti-depressants. They have no problems with the hard drugs that are by far out the biggest killers of all drugs: alcohol and cigarettes. But when people are becoming too relaxed with stuff like ecstasy and marijuana they declare war on these stimulants. So what will happen with chocolate?
Holland is the world’s biggest producer of ecstasy. The Dutch government does everything in their power to battle the production of this drug, but ecstasy is far tougher than you might expect from a love drug. Now back to 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: Holland. So how long will it take before chocolate consumption and production becomes illegal? How long before the news will be dominated by reports about raids on chocolate stores and small bean-to-bar producers? And addicted mothers have to pay dodgy dealers in dark porches? Until that time: enjoy your chocolate while you still can. Enjoy the abundance of taste and variety. Bon appetit or better: bon bite!