We have all heard of the supposed aphrodisiac effect of chocolate. The Aztec emperor Montezuma is reputed to have used chocolate in a manner akin to today's Viagra pill. Undoubtedly, the postulated link between sex and chocolate is one of the reasons why it has become so intimately linked to Valentine's Day. That said, has the link been scientifically established or is it simply an unsubstantiated urban legend?
Dr. Andrea Salonia, an Italian physician, along with several of her colleagues published a study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine wherein they collected data on whether or not women consumed chocolate on a daily basis, as well as data on two measures of sexual function and two measures of depression. Of note, women who consumed chocolate daily scored higher on the Female Sexual Function Index (desire subscale and total score) than their counterparts who did not do so on a daily basis. The authors noted that the women in the "chocolate daily" group were slightly younger (average age of 33.9 versus 40.4) so perhaps this might have affected the sexual function scores. When the analyses took into account possible age and body mass index differences between the two groups, the significant effects became weaker albeit they bordered on being marginally significant (p = 0.10 in both instances).
These results are indeed intriguing in that they add to the growing number of studies that have uncovered beneficial effects of chocolate (especially dark chocolate) on several metrics of health, as well as on the positive role of chocolate in improving mood states.
Now that you know why the proverbial chocolate box is such a central element of the Valentine's Day ritual, put on some Marvin Gaye, have some dark chocolate fondue, and let the romance begin.
Happy Valentine's Day!
Source for Image: