Behind the Valentine's Day chocolate tradition

If you're looking for a simple way to wish your sweetheart happy Valentine's Day, you might consider saying it with chocolate.

After all, you won't be alone: according to a 2009 Nielsen report , approximately 48 million pounds of the sweet stuff is sold during the week leading up to the holiday.

The Royal Chemistry Society asserts the notion of expressing love with chocolate is as old as our knowledge of the mystical and magical gift from the cacao tree itself.

In ancient Mesoamerica, the drink was known for its aphrodisiac qualities. Even Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortez noted that the chocolate drink served to him by the Aztecs was "effectual to provoke lustful desires towards women."

However, our modern connection to love and chocolate seems to come from the middle ages. The news of the libido enhancer had made its way back to Europe by then and was used as a love potion by men and women alike.

Apparently, in England and France this kind of love was celebrated midwinter when the birds began to mate according to information from Canada's CBC News . It garnered the name St. Valentine's Day later in honor of three saints who all died martyr's deaths.

The connection to Valentine's Day and chocolate might be more than historic.

Scientists have found that the eating chocolate can boost brainpower for up to three hours by increasing blood flow to certain parts of the brain. Though the study, as reported by Science Daily , pointed out that the increased blood flow can lead to "increased performance in specific tasks" and a "boost general alertness," it's also important to remember that the brain is also the most important sexual organ. Chocolate also been shown to improve mood by encouraging the brain chemical serotonin.

No matter whether you're celebrating Valentine's Day with a partner or celebrating being single alone, it might be a good time to enjoy a chocolaty treat.

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