Cacao

Cacao’s Theobromine–the secret to chocolate’s health benefits

Aphrodisiac Nutrition with

Delahna Flagg

Discover theobromine

Theobroma cacao is the name given to the seeds of the Cacao tree. The main, active alkaloid found within these seeds is theobromine. Its characteristics include the ability to energize and heal the human body. The Aztecs revered theobromine as a god-like substance and indulged in these dark, exotic seeds to prepare physically and spiritually for battles as well as for love. It is well known that Montezuma, the Aztec emperor, drank many goblets–some historians say as many as 50 cups daily–of a cacao-infused beverage to be at his most virile before walking into his harem.

Better than caffeine?

Theobromine itself is considered to be a stimulant. Its effect is caffeine-like and similar to tea. Although it does not have caffeine, the stimulation of the heart and nervous system that it causes acts like a caffeine. (The increase in organic activity caused by theobromine in humans can be major and damaging to dogs, hence why dogs should not eat chocolate.)

Chocolate itself, in its entirety, is believed to contain caffeine. However there is recent speculation that the caffeine-like effects of chocolate may come strictly from it’s theobromine and phenylethylamine, a natural amphetamine linked with romance. Combine these ingredients may produce an aphrodisiac effect. Theobromine stimulates the nervous and cardiac systems and phenylethylamine acts as an antidepressant. However, on its own theobromine is a relaxant, a diuretic. It can be used for lowering blood pressure and dilating blood vessels.

Chocolate for your sex life

To test the alkaloid, it was orally fed to rats to prove the effects on the sexual organs. A study completed in 1992 demonstrated that pure theobromine caused greater sperm count and testicular swelling. But, once it’s mixed with cacao extract (to more closely resemble chocolate), it doesn’t have the strength to produce the same type of growth. Although the test did show that the chocolate-like mixture produced irregularities in high doses, whether or not the theobromine was in fact producing healthy sperm count was not mentioned.

Theobroma cacao may have given the Aztecs their strength to raise an empire. But theobromine alone can’t. While considered to be a naturally occurring aphrodisiac, it doesn’t produce the effects without the other elements of cacao. The polyphenols of cacao act as antioxidants which protect the body’s health. They protect against free radicals as does theobromine. The polyphenols found in cacao and theobromine produce antioxidant effects similar to much-touted oolong and green teas.

Processing cacao to make chocolate requires the addition of ingredients (like sugar) that diminish the effects of the cacao bean. The potency of is diluted by sugars and dairy. That being said, the darker the chocolate the higher amount of theobromine and polyphenols. Dark chocolate doesn’t have the strength of Montezuma’s virility drink but it’s rich in theobromine and polyphenols. Studies show that, although it may not give you the prowess of an Aztec ruler, it can promote relaxation, better circulation and strengthen the nervous system.  which may produce the aphrodisiac effect sought. Health food never tasted so delicious!

Resources:
http://www.nutraingredients.com/Research/Polyphenol-enriched-tea-may-double-cholesterol-excretion

http://www.chocolate.org/

 

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