chocolate comes from cacao podsChocolate has not just changed the world, but slowly, it has taken it over. Known to have been grown, and coveted, as long ago as the Ancient Mayan civilization, chocolate has a long and rich history in human endeavour. Though it was consumed as a liquid, cocoa beans were even used as currency by the Aztec’s (who couldn’t grow it). Such is the power of chocolate.

The Daily Indulgence

Since the invention of the chocolate bar in 1847, chocolate has become the ‘go-to’ answer for so many of life’s tricky moments; a bad day – chocolate. A tiring morning – chocolate. A nightmare – hot chocolate. Eating a single chocolate chip can give you the physical energy required to walk some 150 feet, so imagine what it can do to power the brain, the imagination and the ingenuity of man.  Chocolate has been a luxury item since it was first used by the Mayan’s, and was among the first luxury items that divided the affluent ruling classes from their subjects. It was a symbol of status, and only slowly became an item for the masses, bringing with it the beginning of the removal of strict divides in society.

Exploration & Physical Endeavour

The psychological benefits of chocolate are wildly underestimated. Included as a vital ration on all space flights to date, chocolate has a naturally calming, relaxing effect on the consumer. Captain Scott took chocolate to the Arctic on his fateful journey, providing comfort to his heroic band of hardy adventurers, providing the physical energy and mental strength to push on. Chocolate has been an essential ration in both exploration expeditions and for armies, giving the psychological edge for many to keep going. Who knows how the world would be were it not for the reassuring, energy giving properties of chocolate?

Furthering Science

Academically, an astonishing study into the correlation between national chocolate consumption and the number of Nobel Prize winners was a statistically significant, positive correlation. As we know, statistics can be highly misleading, and it may be assumed that a prosperous, first world nation would have more disposable income for luxuries like chocolate as well as academic research. However, when you look at the figures, large but low chocolate consuming countries, including China and Spain, are surprisingly void of Nobel Prizes, whilst countries with an enormous consumption level, including Denmark and Switzerland have a Nobel Prize representation far outweighing their population size or academic spending. Chocolate triggers cognitive function.

What on earth triggered such research? Well, it is a known phenomenon that blood circulation to the brain is increased for up to three hours after consumption of chocolate. So it seems plausible as a theory. It is known to increase the size or arteries, allowing increased blood flow, which, in turn, reduces exhaustion and aging, and improves the ability to learn. Could it be coincidence that the first of the advanced societies, the Ancient Mayans, were serious chocolate growers, with liquid chocolate being coveted and used by nobles in ceremonies? Did chocolate give rise to civilization in humans? It is a leap of logic, but possible.

Advancing the Economy

The power of chocolate has even been used to stimulate the economy. A 2013 study showed that pumping in the smell of chocolate into shops increased sales by some 22%, with the sale of romantic novels in bookshops soaring an incredible 40%. The smell of chocolate, though an unlikely source of economic prowess, has been used to great effect, increasing spending and launching the world’s favourite confectionary to even more dizzying heights within the esteem of the human race!