How many Easter Eggs did you get? How many are left???? Have you ever wondered why you need chocolate?
Research shows that, on average, Britons enjoy about 11kg (24lb) of chocolate a year, making the UK one of the biggest consumers of chocolate in the world. Only the Swiss and Germans eat more.
Now, 11kg equals about
- 90 small Easter eggs or
- 60 medium Easter eggs or
- 40 large Easter eggs!
What about the feelings?
What makes us reach for chocolate in times of stress or difficulty? How come we need to use chocolate as relaxation or calming aid? Well, when we look at it in a psychological and sensory way it may explain.
What senses are most active when we eat chocolate?
- There’s the look of it – highly attractive packaging, smooth dark sultry shapes
- There’s the smell – chocolate, vanilla, sweet, bitter
- There’s the taste – firing all those taste buds across your tongue, sweet, bitter
- There’s also texture – that smooth, silky, sweet, stick to the roof of your mouth
In addition, we know what to expect, there’s a learned response in us, so we think about chocolate and our mouth waters; we remember the previous experiences of calm, joy, comfort, relaxation or whatever. So we enjoy the feeling that eating chocolate produces in us.
Here’s the other thing: when we are babies, our first soothing experience is when we get milk sensation in our mouths, with the smell of our mother, the taste of familiar sweet, smooth, comforting milk. So it’s one of the closest things to replicating our early soothing experiences.
Do you prefer your chocolate with nuts in or hard and cold from the fridge? Then the need for crunch is, in sensory integration terms, related to other emotions being associated too! (That’s a whole other blog of information about emotional and sensory eating.)
Does this make you a chocaholic?
However, remember too, we can learn behaviour from our experiences. So as a child were you given a ‘treat’ for good conduct? This practice of using food as a treat or as a mood enhancer then means that when we find ourselves feeling stressed, tired, fed up, our mind is wired to desire those same foods because it believes that is what makes us feel good again. Does that make you a chocaholic or just someone searching for something to help us feel better?
Chocolate does also produce those “feel good” chemicals yet some scientific people would argue that our bodies regulate those chemicals so that if we have too much our body try to create a balance. These researchers at University of Texas say that we could become desensitized to the effects if we have too much over time! Well, I for one, would be happy to be their guinea pig in that study!
This need and desire for chocolate is not a new thing. There are stories through history about cocoa and chocolate and under “discovering chocolate” section on Cadbury.com they say that “in the 17th century, the Dutch … brought cocoa beans from America to Holland, where cocoa was greatly acclaimed and recommended by doctors as a cure for almost every ailment…”
Some researchers say that Dark Chocolate
- Has many powerful antioxidants
- Is rich in minerals such as Iron, Zinc, Magnesium and Copper
- May reduce risk of heart disease
- May improve brain function
- Increases “feel good” chemicals
There’s a neuropsychologist in US who works with and writes about people with brain injury and says that dark chocolate is great for brain health.
Is Chocolate Good for You?
According to Rebecca Boulton, Nutritional Therapist from http://simpleandcleannutrition.co.uk the flavanols from the coffee bean have excellent health benefits. She says they can:
- Lower blood pressure
- Reduce bad cholesterol and increase the good cholesterol
- Help boost brain function and increase focus and concentration
- Reduce stress hormones
- Have anti-ageing effects and are great for skin health
“of course I’m not talking about the sugar laden milk chocolate that is so popular nowadays. Dark chocolate of 70% or more, retains the flavanols and raw cacao has antioxidants and magnesium for an extra boost”
So, whatever is driving your need to eat chocolate remember the sugar intake that goes alongside consuming large amounts of chocolate is another issue. Consuming more dark chocolate is considered much better because of the higher amount of cocoa, so has more health benefits than milk chocolate although there are similar calories in both dark and milk chocolate!
You can still enjoy your chocolate and still find ways to de-stress, relax or feel good. It just doesn’t have be outside of your control. Using hypnosis and hypnotherapy you can recognise what is driving your desire for chocolate you can then address the root of any problem. So then, instead of needing to implement all of your self-discipline to avoid temptations you can address your underlying issue in a safe and appropriate way and still enjoy chocolate in moderate, healthy amounts.
What do you think?
Find out more at www.emmalangton.co.uk and read about testimonials from people I have worked with.
If you need help incorporating any of the above get in touch for a complementary telephone consultation and learn how I can help you incorporate easy things in your life.