The History of Chocolate and Its Benefits
Chocolate is the processed food that comes from the seed of the Theobroma cacao tree. There is evidence that chocolate or caco has been used in ever since 1100 BC as a beverage. Back in the Mayan and Aztec time period, chocolate was seen as a special drink for sacred ceremonies, where the seeds were offered to the gods. When the Aztec took control of the land, where the cacao beans grew, they ordered the Aztec to pay them with the beans as a tax. Later on in the years, the Europeans decided to to add sugar and milk to the chocolate; something that the Aztecs and Mayans didn't do. They would then go about using the chocolate as something sweet to eat and wouldn't use it as something to have when they would eat regularly. During the 19th century, John Cadbury would be the person, who would invent a way to make chocolate solid creating the chocolate bar.
All through the years, the way to make chocolate would remain the same. When the Industrial Revolution came around, many machines and new inventions were made to aid in the tasks of daily life. Therefore, mechanical mills were invented to squeeze cocoa butter out of the chocolate, which would create durable chocolate. Since, this new way of making more durable chocolate came around, companies would advertise their invention, on order to sell the chocolate treats. After people saw these machines being built and the delicious looking candy that was a result of it, more and more people began eating chocolate. As of today, Africa produces 66 % of the worlds cocoa, even though cocoa is originally from the Americas.
Chocolate is very beneficial and is packed with a lot of nutrition. This is due to the source of chocolate, which is cacao and the other chemicals in chocolate such as flavonoids and theobromine. The only problem with eating cacao by itself is that it is bitter, chalky, and quite unpleasant to eat. Therefore, milk, sugar, and butter are added for flavor, even though they are not always good for your health. Dark chocolate is a lot more healthier than milk chocolate due to having less milk and sugar included in it and more cacao packed in every bite. They best way to have a healthy piece of chocolate is to have a snack with at least 70 percent cacao in its roasted or ground form. In order for you to have the chocolate beneficial to your body is to limit the amount that you eat because of the high fat and sugar content. Hence, you should only have about 7 ounces or four dark chocolate bars a week.
The ways that chocolate are beneficial to the body are numerous. There was a study done that showed that chocolate was helpful in reducing the risk for heart failure. Also, other studies were done that showed that chocolate lowered blood pressure, reducing risk of heart attack and stroke by close to 40 percent. The ingredient in the chocolate that helps with the heart and blood pressure is the flavonoids that increases the flexibility of veins and arteries. Due to high fat and sugar content, you should avoid intaking too much chocolate and using this in your general diet as the only way to keep yourself healthy. You should still continue to work out, eat vegetables, fruits, and foods with protein.
Dark chocolate itself is very beneficial to your body. When you eat dark chocolate in the right proportions on a weekly or daily basis, it helps to resist your cravings for sweet, salty, and fatty foods. This is very beneficial to those who have diabetes or who may contract diabetes from having too much sugar on a daily basis. Flavonoids in dark chocolate increase nitric oxide in your blood helping to control insulin sensitivity. Also, this will help you to reduce the amount of friend and fatty foods that you intake lowering your risk for high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Therefore, since your body are resisting the foods that you love to eat due to eating dark chocolate, you will begin to lose weight the way that you want.
Some facts that you might not know is that dark chocolate reduces stress. There were studies done that showed eating an ounce of dark chocolate a day helps to reduce your stress hormone levels. When ever you are going through a hard time, instead of breaking out ice cream or having a meltdown, grab a dark chocolate bar and get to chowing down.
Other facts have been that after eating dark chocolate over a course of a few months that your skin would be more resistant to sunburn. In a sense, this means that eating chocolate will protect your skin from the sun and reduce your chances of obtaining skin cancer. The chocolate with high flavanols would help with the skin protection, whereas the chocolate with low flavanols didn't help out as much.
Dark chocolate also helps with brain stimulation and helps to improve your performance. For example, if you were to have a test or quiz, you should drink cocoa rich in flavanols that would boost blood to your brain and improving your alertness and overall performance.This would also help you to score high on tests and to really retain information that you have been studying.
Dark chocolate is also beneficial in providing cough relief, when cough drops or medicine does not work. If you want something that is natural and not filled with a lot of chemicals that have side effects, then you should try dark chocolate. Theobromine, a chemical inside of cocoa helps to suppress activing in a part of the brain that deals with the throat, feelings, and how you react.
Another benefit of dark chocolate is that is helps you, when you have diarrhea. Dark chocolate has been used for centuries as a way to help with diarrhea. Flavonoids in cocoa also help with this process by binding to protein that regulates secretion in the intestine, stopping your diarrhea in its place.
Despite all of the benefits of chocolate, there are quite a few downsides to chocolate. Besides containing chemicals such as flavanoids and theobromine, chocolate also contains caffeine. As some people might know, caffeine acts as a stimulant in humans that keeps us alert and wards off feelings of tiredness. When you have chocolate in a huge amount, you might experience symptoms such as insomnia, dizziness, acne, irritability, and obesity. Also, because of these symptoms this could lead to diseases such as diabetes, allergies, and depression. The diabetes comes from too much sugar intake and throwing off your insulin sensitivity and the depression is from the lack of sleep and from overall consuming too much chocolate. Also, chocolate has been linked to causing cancer and damage to the choromosome due to the process of which chocolate is made. Cocoa beans are left out to ferment and because of this process cancer causing agents have the ability to form as well as small rodents to contaminate the cocoa beans. A fact that most people don't know is that the FDA allows up to 10 milligrams of animal excrement per pound in the chocolate.
Carob is a great substitute for chocolate because its tastes like chocolate, doesn't have health risks, and you won't get contamination such as you do with the chocolate. Carob comes from the carob tree in the Mediterranean. As of today, it is grown in other warm climates such as the United States. Carob has been used for thousand of years and is an important role in Jewish tradition. The way carob is prepared isby roasting and ground into carob powder. Therefore, carob does not go through the fermenting process that chocolate goes through. Carob is naturally sweet and can be used for those people that are allergic to the ingredients in regular chocolate.
Different Ways Chocolate Has Been Used
The best thing about dark chocolate, milk chocolate, or white chocolate is that it is very versatile. It can be made into a a solid form or even a smooth pudding form. Chocolate has been used in a wide variety of desserts and snacks such as cakes, cupcakes, brownies, granola bars, pies, candy bars, shakes, and smoothies. I am a chocolate lover due to the different ways it can be used and there are many different ways on how chocolate is used with other ingredients so brownies and cakes can taste much different from each other. Also, chocolate can be used with fruits as well, such as strawberries and pineapples. Chocolate has been used as toppings and as frostings for cakes, brownies, and cupcakes. Chocolate was one of the best creations and I'm glad that new ideas are constantly being used with chocolate in mind. The main reason that most people prefer milk chocolate over dark chocolate is because of our taste buds and the fact we prefer sweet and sultry over chalky and a bitter taste. I personally don't like dark chocolate due to its taste, even though its smell is quite delicioius. I find that dark chocolate is very hard to eat, no matter if you add milk to drink with it or not. Even though dark chocolate is very healthy for someone, I find it extremely hard to enjoy eating. On the other hand, there are some people, who prefer dark chocolate over milk chocolate because milk chocolate is too sweet with the amount of sugar and milk included in it.
Overall, chocolate is very versatile and very delicious. I absolutely love chocolate and was overjoyed to learn about its history and its many benefits. Dark chocolate is more beneficial than milk chocolate due to the reduced amount of sugar and milk used in making the chocolate. Therefore, whenever you eat dark chocolate, you taste more of a bitter taste than what you would when you eat milk chocolate, which is not as healthy. You receive more benefits when you eat dark chocolate that has more flavanoids in it and that is 70 percent cocoa in its roasted or ground form. When you eat chocolate in the appropiate proportions, it can help to lower your risk of a heart attack and help with your bowel movement.
Here below are a couple of links that deal with using chocolate in two different recipes: