Other compounds in chocolate provide enhancement of mind and mood. According to numerous medical studies, caffeine is beneficial to overall health. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system, stimulates the flow of blood in the brain, and increases secretion of serotonin. Caffeine enhances alertness, facilitates thought formation and decreases fatigue. It also improves mood overall, lifts the spirits, and enhances both cardiovascular function and respiration.
Taken by adults at a dose of 300 milligrams or less per day, caffeine is safe and beneficial. Chocolate is a modest caffeine source, with a 50 gram piece of dark chocolate yielding between 10 and 60 milligrams of caffeine, as compared with a five ounce cup of coffee, which can yield up to 180 milligrams. Modest amounts of caffeine in chocolate provide a healthy stimulant effect, suitable for consumption by all adults and children, except for the unusually sensitive or hyperactive. (SOURCE: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2011/02/07/chocolate-love-drug-good/ )
Chocolate gets right to the heart of mood enhancement by increasing the brain’s level of serotonin, the feel-good brain chemical. Serotonin plays a major role in positive mood, emotional health, proper sleep and balanced appetite, contributing to numerous behavioral and physiological functions. Decreased serotonin is a well-known factor in cases of depression. Increased brain serotonin promoted by chocolate elevates moods to more pleasant levels.
Violence, aggressive behaviors, and higher rates of suicide have all been associated with reduced brain levels of serotonin. Many people consume chocolate as a form of self-medication, whether they are aware of the fact or not. Chocolate’s serotonin elevating activity helps to modify mood in positive ways.
Probably the most influential "love compound" in chocolate is PEA, phenethylamine. This chemical stimulates the nervous system and triggers the release of pleasurable endorphins. PEA acts as a potent antidepressant in both sexes and rises during periods of romance. The giddy, restless feelings that occur when we are in love are due to a great extent to PEA, which significantly increases in the brain at that time. Some scientists dismiss this notion, claiming that the PEA in chocolate is metabolized too quickly to produce a significant mood-altering effect, but others disagree. Why else would chocolate be so intertwined with love and romance?
While we might encounter many agents in nature to boost libido, only CHOCOLATE equals LOVE in the equation of romance. In today's recipe, CHOCOLATE equals YUMMM! This recipe came from Ruth and Terry Dale. Ruth shared the recipe, while Terry made the recommendation! And, I have become addicted. They called these "Ol' Henry Bars," but for the sake of the holiday that is upon us, we're calling them "Be Mine Chocolate Bars."
So, here we go---Let's gather our ingredients and get started! Valentine's Day is almost here! I hope you and yours enJOY a very happy one, BLESSED with much CHOCOLATE and LOVE!
p.s. Don't forget to copy and paste the recipe at the end of today's blog to your word processor so you can print it or file it in your records. EnJOY!