Chocolate As Medicine: Is Chocolate Good For Me?
Food therapy is one of the five branches of Chinese medicine. What we eat has a significant impact on our health, sense of wellbeing and longevity. Although cacoa/cocoa the main ingredient in chocolate originated in Mesoamerica, it is interesting to look at chocolate’s properties through the lens of Chinese medicine and see if chocolate as medicine is a real thing.
In Chinese medicine food substances are broken down into five flavors. Each flavor connects with an organ system. Consuming certain foods and avoiding other foods can help bring the body’s energy system back into balance. The five flavors are sour, bitter, sweet, pungent, and salty.
The sweetness of chocolate benefits the spleen energy in Chinese medicine. It helps us feel satiated, calm, and increases our energy. It is also bitter which is cooling and clearing in Chinese medicine and connects with the heart. Chocolate certainly is the food of the heart with its strong association with love and desire. Chocolate is warming in nature. This warming quality in Chinese medicine aids the kidney yang energy system. Kidney yang is responsible for our sexual energy also known at the “fire of the gate of life.” Sounding good, right? This is one way to explain why chocolate is known to be an aphrodisiac.
If you want to get the most benefit from this delicious food look for chocolate made with at least 70% cocoa. And yes, you can get too much of good thing. Eat ½ to 1 ounce a day. If you crave more look into your diet deeper. Are you getting enough healthy fats and protein? It is the milk fat and sugar you’re really after? Getting enough protein and healthy fats will help create lasting energy throughout the day so you won’t find yourself eating bars of cheap milk chocolate, and you can use chocolate as medicine.