Viagra may heat up one's sex drive, but chocolate can make it sizzle.
So said Dr. Dora Akunyili, the director of Nigeria's Federal Agency for Food and Medicine, in advising Nigerians on Monday to forego the little, libido-boosting blue pills in favor of a measured dose of cocoa.
To back up her claims - made during a meeting with the vice-governor of one of Nigeria's states - the good doctor cited a recently published study extolling the libidinal qualities of cocoa beans.
The report, produced by Nigeria's national committee for the development of cocoa, may be a bit skimpy on double-blind scientific tests, but it does refer to the marketing campaign of a British trade association making similar claims.
Baptized "Feeding Your Imagination", the campaign will soon launch a product line of six energy chocolate bars containing essential oils said to enhance one's mood, and especially one's sexual appetite.
Costing about six US dollars (5 euros) per 100 grams, the bars are fetchingly named Sexy, Beautiful, Dreamy, Fantastic, Sensual and Lovely, according to the website foodnavigator.com.
Britons already lead the European Union in chocolate consumption, eating nearly 10 kilos on average per year, and Britian is thus considered a promising market for sex candy.
For Akunyili, chocolate is the obvious lover's choice. Viagra, she said, can have unwelcome side effects, but chocolate is all good: it is the best anti-oxidant known and - beyond its sexual virtues - can help prevent heart attacks, hypertension and diabetes.
The vice governor, who also happens to head a committee for the promotion of chocolate, is even more enthusiastic about cocoa's curative powers, claiming it can "cure breast cancer, get rid of chronic coughs, and enhance brain power".
Akunyili did caution, however, that any new products containing chocolate will be thoroughly tested before going to market.