Scientists, like many Americans, are fascinated with chocolate. Recent scientific studies have explored the benefits of chocolate and why we love it. (As if we needed scientists to prove that chocolate is good!)
Why We Love Chocolate
Could Americans’ taste for cocoa have to do with how we taste our foodstuffs? According to The Week’s recent article, “Why a Stinky Cheese Can Taste Delicious,” there is a scientific reason that we respond to certain foods—like cheese, chocolate, and coffee—in specific ways. Find that your flavored coffee always smells more complex and rich than it tastes? There is a physical reaction at work. Because “we smell coffee as it is brewing, the aroma goes in through the nose and passes across a sheet of receptor cells that send the information to the brain….but when we swallow the coffee, the scent is pushed up the throat. It passes over the same receptors – but from the opposite direction. This leads to information being sent to a different part of the brain, where the smell is interpreted differently.” Tangy cheeses, in contrast, have a gentler taste on the tongue. Says The Week: “With cheese, the process is the same; the difference is that the brain interprets its aroma more favourably when its odour reaches the nose from the mouth. Only two flavours – lavender and chocolate – are interpreted the same way regardless of whether they enter the nose from inside, or outside.” Utilizing chocolate, scientists are making new discoveries everyday.
This scientific interest in chocolate has revealed that, in addition to a pleasing uniformity of taste and scent, chocolate has other interesting characteristics. Many of these characteristics might be beneficial to our health! At present, scientists are studying chocolate’s potential role in cancer prevention, as well as the possibility that chocolate could boost our immune systems and memory. To the delight of chocoaholics everywhere, a Telegraph article even highlighted the 2011 Michigan study that revealed that dark chocolate was “as good for you as exercise.” Before you hop off that treadmill, though, note that the study referred to small amounts of dark chocolate, not the commercial milk chocolate available in your supermarket. The good news: as handmade, cocoa-rich treats, our bon bons do qualify! To scientifically explore “chocolate health” yourself, visit us at South ’n France for your next chocolate treat.