Tennis & Chocolate: A Sweet Match

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, thoughts turn to chocolate.

But what about that New Year’s resolution?

You can splurge for a day, why not? Even the world’s top tennis players get a sweet tooth every now and then!

Players like Monica Puig, Victoria Azarenka, Martina Hingis and even Rafael Nadal all admit to loving chocolate. Some of the most notable players have turned their cravings into sponsorships and businesses. Agnieszka Radwanska signed a multi year deal with the Cheesecake Factory after tweeting about how much she loved going there while in town for the BNP Paribas Open. Caroline Wozniacki inked a deal with Godiva, and can we ever forget the great ads for Lindt Chocolates with Roger Federer? The tennis legend shot his own version of the Mannequin Challenge at the Lindt factory, and even has a chocolate named after him.

But perhaps the most notable sweets fan among tennis is Maria Sharapova, who actually launched her own candy line “Sugarpova” several years ago. She started with a variety of gummies and has now added gourmet chocolates to her candy empire.

People crave chocolate because it tastes good, smells good, and makes them feel good – a result of the brain releasing chemicals in response to each chocolate experience. Eating chocolate results in neurotransmitters (mostly dopamine) being released in the brain. And not only does it make us feel good, but as a powerful source of antioxidants, chocolate can be good for you! A higher cocoa content (and less sugar content) results in more health benefits – better for overall health.

Rashed Latif, who published a review of chocolate’s health effects in the Netherlands Journal of Medicine, says “the recent discovery of biologically active phenolic compounds in cocoa has changed this perception and stimulated research on its effects in aging, oxidative stress, blood pressure regulation, and atherosclerosis.”

So go ahead – indulge a little! After all, if it’s good for Grand Slam champions, it must be ok for the rest of us.

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