Who does not want Chocolates? Everybody loves its irresistible taste, various flavors and countless alternatives. But, do we know where it came from, how it was made and who was involved in its production.
Chocolate is a usually sweet, brown food preparation of roasted and ground cacao seeds that is made in the form of a liquid, paste, or in a block, or used as a flavoring ingredient in other foods. The earliest evidence of use traces to the Olmecs (modern day Mexico), with evidence of chocolate beverages dating to 1900 BC. The majority of Mesoamerican people made chocolate beverages, including the Maya and Aztecs. The word “chocolate” is derived from the Classical Nahuatl word chocolātl.
The seeds of the cacao tree have an intense bitter taste and must be fermented to develop the flavor. After fermentation, the beans are dried, cleaned, and roasted. The shell is removed to produce cacao nibs, which are then ground to cocoa mass, unadulterated chocolate in rough form. Once the cocoa mass is liquefied by heating, it is called chocolate liquor. The liquor may also be cooled and processed into its two components: cocoa solids and cocoa butter.
At least, now we have an idea where it came from and the process in producing the Chocolate which most of us love. This is important that we know what we buy and especially what we eat.
Aside from this, Chocolate has an effect on us, It makes us feel happy according to Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease) “Chocolate releases serotonin and another feel-good hormone called dopamine. Because of that release, people crave the feel-good and can become addicted, much in the same way people can get addicted to caffeine or nicotine.” (Source:https://www.sharecare.com/health) So,when you feel down try to have some chocolate it helps in uplifting you but, take it in moderation.
Chocolates and its health benefits.
Quality made dark chocolate are rich in the following: fiber, iron, magnesium, copper, manganese and a few other minerals.
Cocoa and dark chocolate have a wide variety of powerful antioxidants. In fact, they have way more than most other foods.
The bio-active compounds in cocoa may improve blood flow in the arteries and cause a small but statistically significant decrease in blood pressure.
Dark chocolate improves several important risk factors for disease. It lowers the susceptibility of LDL (Low-density lipoprotein “bad cholesterol”)to oxidative damage while increasing HDL (High-density lipoprotein “good cholesterol) and improving insulin sensitivity.
Observational studies show a drastic reduction in heart disease risk among those who consume the most chocolate.
Studies show that the flavanols from cocoa can improve blood flow to the skin and protect it from sun damage.
Cocoa or dark chocolate may improve brain function by increasing blood flow. It also contains stimulants like caffeine and theobromine
(Source : https://www.healthline.com)
Having read all these health benefits this doesn’t mean you should go all out and consume lots of chocolate every day. It is still loaded with calories and anything in excess is bad for the health.
It would be ideal to have a square or two after dinner and try to really savor its taste. If you want the benefits of cocoa without the calories in chocolate, consider making a hot cocoa without any cream or sugar.
Also be aware that a lot of the chocolate on the market is not healthy.
Choose quality dark chocolate with 70% or higher cocoa content.