Most chocolate lovers will agree that eating chocolate feels good. But did you know that quality dark chocolate is also good for you?
An upcoming exhibit at Paris’s Choco-Story, Le Musée Gourmand du Chocolat entitled Chocolat et Santé (Chocolate and Health) will explore the health benefits of dark chocolate.
From boxes of medicinal chocolate and pharmaceutical preparations to advertisements and scientific studies, the items on display will showcase the therapeutic virtues of chocolate and their applications over the years.
The exhibit, which begins this Friday, has been organised in collaboration with Dr. Hervé Robert, a nutritional expert who has written and co-authored several books about chocolate and health.
So what are the health benefits of chocolate? For starters, good dark chocolate—with a minimum 70 per cent cocoa content—contains plenty of magnesium and phosphorous, which are both important nutrients. Then there’s cocoa butter, which helps protect the cardiovascular system by decreasing levels of dangerous cholesterol (LDL) and increasing production of the positive sort (HDL).
Dark chocolate also contains caffeine, theobromine and phenylethylamine, substances which can give the nervous system a healthy boost, as well as serotonin, an important neurotransmitter.
In fact, eating chocolate is so pleasurable that it causes endorphins to be secreted, further enhancing its feel-good properties.
Chocolatiers were already onto this centuries ago. In the 1800s, chocolate was used to make bitter medicines more palatable. It was also combined with “healthful” ingredients to promote vigour and health. In fact, when it was founded in the early 19th century, luxury chocolatier Debauve & Gallais primarily sold “health chocolates.”
Chocolat et Santé (Chocolate and Health) runs from 4 February to 30 September 2011.
What: Exposition Chocolat et Santé (Chocolate and Health)
Where: Choco-Story – Le Musée Gourmand du Chocolat, 28, boulevard de Bonne Nouvelle, 75010 Paris
When: 4 February to 30 September 2011
Admission: Adults 9 €, children 6 to 12 years 6 €
Station: Bonne Nouvelle or Strasbourg-Saint Denis
For more information, visit the museum’s official website.