“Lagom- not too much, not too little. Just right.”
The excitement of having chocolate and the consequent pleasure attained quickly match up.
One leading to the other- its aroma, the tingling sensation on your fingers when you hold your beloved chocolate, the feeling of it on your lips, and then finally, feeling the ecstatic bliss melt in your mouth.
It is not the mere taste of chocolate. It is a whole experience -- involving our consciousness and emotions. In addition to engaging our primary senses of taste and smell, the condiment captivates our sixth sense. Chocolate releases endorphins and dopamine within our body getting us all gleeful and happy.
Can you relate?
All things said, while it is only natural to savor our guilty pleasure, the ‘guilty’ part of it shows up only once the mesmerizing spell is broken. The feeling of which can be outright daunting, for many.
No wonder even professional nutritionists admit to cravings!
While as much as they avow to cravings, they also widely suggest incorporating combinations of food in the diet as a means to attain ‘smart eating' habits. For instance, having chocolate and fruits for dessert or chocolate-coated nuts as a dessert or a snack.
What do the findings conclude?
A research conducted by the State university of New York suggests that eating chocolate and almonds in combination leads to cardioprotective effects in the body. Cardioprotective effects help in-
- promoting heart health by maintaining cholesterol levels,
- preventing clot formation,
- reducing platelet aggregation,
- preventing blood oxidation.
Almonds and various other dry fruits come with a myriad of health benefits. The benefits that our mothers and nutritionists mutually agree upon (and adamantly endorse!).
Nuts like almonds, raisins, and hazelnuts are an excellent source of antioxidants, plant-based omegas, and healthy fats. Nuts contain high amounts of fiber and also make for rich sources of macro nutrients- including carbohydrates, healthy fats, and proteins. And micro nutrients- including minerals such as iron, zinc, selenium, and magnesium.
Interestingly, after spices, it is nuts and dry fruits that contribute to the exoticism of India- showcasing the holy land's prestige, richness, and exclusivity!
The utilization of dry foods in antiquated India dates all the way back to its mention in the ancient ayurvedic text of Charaka Samhita. Since time immemorial, nuts and dry fruits have been considered royalty- the privilege of the elite. In fact, during medieval times, Mughals popularized the consumption and usage of nuts as a means to portray their opulence.
Nuts coated in chocolate not only give nutrition and pleasure but also a feeling of prestige. Due to the high perceived value of nuts and the strong emotional associations that come with the chocolate that they are bathed in, these can be a very meaningful gift to give to your loved ones.
This delicacy is nutritious, delicious, gluten-free, and entices all ages alike. Since chocolate- coated nuts are not as sensitive to sunlight as chocolate alone, these remain intact during transit and do not go bad for a very long time. Chocolates as it is do not expire and nuts like almonds, hazelnuts and raisins have a nearly eternal shelf life. If stored correctly, chocolate coated nuts can last about 1.5 to 2 years, while still being safe for human consumption.
The pandemic has indeed distanced many of us from our families. The longing hits hard, especially during the festive season. Beyond virtual platforms, sending warmth through comfort food provides a great deal of solace and reinforces the connection you and your loved ones share. Emotionally comforting nostalgic food feels nothing less than a hug!