Think back to that one Halloween when you really brought home the bacon. We’re talking about a bag overflowing with Twizzlers and Snowcaps, Mike & Ike’s falling out as you rush to see which candy you’ll tear into first. Then, out of nowhere, dad goes and grabs the bag, making sure it’s “safe.” Two or three rounds of trick-or-treating later, you start to realize that’s code for “I’ll be taking your chocolate,” a not-so-small fee in exchange for buying the costume you rocked in your pursuit of sugar-fueled happiness. Scarcity creates demand, so not only did you get a quick lesson in economics, you soon learned the high value of chocolate and all its greatness.
So, what makes chocolate the sought after treat that it is? Here are 4 Reasons Chocolate is THE BEST!
1. It quite literally makes you happy
Chocolate contains tryptophan, an amino acid used by the brain to create serotonin, known to contribute to causing feelings of “generalized euphoria.” Sounds pretty nice. But more than just a mood boost, chocolate has also been shown to reduce stress. In two randomized control studies, chocolate was shown to, ”Reduce stress in highly stressed, as well as normal healthy individuals.” In a world of go-go-go, a little serotonin boost and stress relief are much sought after rewards after long days.
2. It’s a great gift, to give or receive
A year round delight, chocolate has been a staple come many holiday seasons. Got a crush? Drop a hint with a Kiss. Last minute valentine? Break the ice with a box of chocolates. Feeling that summertime sadness? Nothing a cool, chocolate dipped cone can’t fix. Chilly after that snowball fight? A warm cup of hot chocolate is perfect to help defrost. We could go on, but you get the point.
3. Wake up and smell the roses, get ready to relax and sniff the… chocolate?
Stress relief isn’t just a result of chocolate hitting your tongue, the smell alone has been found to increase theta brain waves, contributing to a more relaxed mood. One book store took these findings a step further with help from Belgium's Hasselt University. By infusing the smell of chocolate into the air, they found customers felt more at ease, spending more time in the stores, and they even saw an uptick in purchases, particularly in cookbooks and romance novels. We’ll let you figure that one out.
4. Much effort, much prosperity -Euripides
Harvested by hand, to make one pound of chocolate, you would need 400 cacao beans. But let’s break that down further. One pod has roughly 40 beans. This means you’d need around 10 pods for that one pound. On average, cacao trees produce 30 to 60 pods per year. That means, in a normal year, a tree can produce about 2 to 3 pounds of chocolate per year. The average American eats 11 pounds a year. That’s 4,400 cacao beans or 1100 pods. No wonder chocolate has been described as a rich treat, it takes hard work to give you such a great taste!
So maybe it’s time to forgive dad. Sure, the extra Hershey’s would’ve been nice, but now that you know the in’s and out’s of the cacao crave, can you blame him? Let’s let bygones be bygones and instead immerse ourselves in some self-care, relaxation, and a sweet taste of chocolate.
The Slate Milk Squad
Written by Cassandra Catesson