Every year, Valentine’s Day seems to spark debates between romantics and cynics. Reports show that during the week leading up to the big day, seasonal items generate $729 million, with chocolate being the top seller at $613 million. With numbers like these, it’s hard not to think of it as a holiday invented by capitalism. However, for others, the day is the ultimate celebration of love.
While the true history of Valentine’s Day is still somewhat of a mystery to historians, one story says that St. Valentine was a priest known for performing secret marriages and celebrating love when coupling for young men was outlawed in Rome.
In defense of the romantics, here are a few reasons why you should consider sharing a sweet treat with your loved ones on Feb. 14:
Chocolate has historically been a delicacy
In 1900 BCE in Mesoamerica, Indigenous people first thought of it as a heavenly food gifted by the gods. The treat has been used throughout history at royal feasts and as rewards for soldiers, currency, medicine, and aphrodisiacs. Although the nobility associated with the creamy goodness has declined, it will remain a symbol of the things we cherish, making it perfect for Valentine’s Day.
There are numerous physical health benefits to eating chocolate
It has gotten a bad rap and has been labeled as junk food, but studies have shown that eating good quality dark chocolate in moderation has many health benefits.
According to studies done at Johns Hopkins, it can be associated with increased heart health, a balanced immune system, improved brain functions, and reduced stress levels.
Gift-giving and receiving have also been proven to have many health benefits.
Science has shown that giving and receiving gifts releases oxytocin in our bodies, also known as the cuddle hormone. It lowers stress and anxiety, and some refer to it as the “warm glow” associated with doing something nice for others.
“If you’re given a gift from someone who cares about you a lot, and you really love what they have gotten you, that is going to yield a very similar oxytocin-laden reward response,” said Emiliana Simon-Thomas, Ph.D., researcher.
You have an opportunity to support local chocolatiers
Checking out local shops for sweet treats is a great way to give your loved ones a special gift while carrying out a sustainable practice. Supporting neighborhood businesses is an investment in your community that ensures these unique, small companies can continue to stick around. They can also have a better selection, use better ingredients, and have smaller environmental impacts.
You can test your creativity in the kitchen and whip up sweets
Not only is making homemade treats a great way to give gifts on a budget, but the possibilities of what to create are endless. Making a dessert from scratch shows your loved ones that you are putting in the extra time to do something special for them. Browse our website to find some inspiration, like this Chocolate Scone recipe!
Regardless of Valentine’s Day’s origins, it’s always important to do something nice for the people you love. So for this year, let your creativity run wild and make sure you find a way to show your loved ones how much they mean to you.