So this weekend marked the return of Easter, and aside from being a religious holiday it’s also the time of year when chocolate Easter eggs come out of hibernation to tempt the taste buds of children everywhere (and the occasional hankering adult’s too).
Those of us who eagerly take part in the annual ritual of Easter egg table-bashing have been doing so since the early 19th Century, but our universal appetite for chocolate has its roots as far back as 1900 BC. To say we have an insatiable penchant for the stuff would be a gross understatement – but chocolate’s benefits go way beyond simply satisfying our sweet tooth.
As well as making us happy through releasing endorphins – the same pleasure-inducing hormones that come from, say, exercising or watching a particularly funny comedian – chocolate (particularly dark) has also been proven to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, protect our skin from sun damage, and contrary to popular belief, is full of beneficial minerals. And that’s not all: it’s also good at keeping us calm and content! What can’t chocolate do?
To be exact, it’s not the chocolate itself which relaxes us, but the polyphenols inside the cocoa. Polyphenols are a group of antioxidants which combat cognitive anxiety and stress – hence why you might feel a sudden craving for chocolate when you’re worried or stressed out.
But the best thing is that because of this, polyphenols can make us more creative. While some people may see creativity as a quality only possessed by a privileged few, according to research, it’s actually deceptively simple to achieve. Studies have shown that the most creative people have simply mastered the art of naturally lowering their inhibitions – and in doing so, they declutter their brains and allow ideas to flow much more quickly and freely.
So essentially, if you’re stuck in a hopeless mental dead-end, stop worrying about it so much and you’ll probably find yourself suddenly full of ideas.
This proves that not only can chocolate make us more creative, but more productive too – stimulating an open, unobstructed, anxiety-free stream of consciousness. Chocolate is literally brainfood.
And the very best thing we can all take from this? While many of us will have spent the extended weekend basking unashamedly in the little extra time away from the workplace, some will have undoubtedly been fretting over the amount of lost productivity that’ll be hard to gain back.
So we can’t think of a better reason to indulge in a bit of the good chocolatey stuff, to get back into working gear!