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Dark Chocolate- The Delicious Healthy Snack
Hernando Cortes-Spanish Conquistador
Where does chocolate come from?
Have you ever wondered how you can eat something sweet and get those important healthy antioxidants at the same time? Actually, you can! And this delicious treat has been around for a long time. In fact, it is easy to find and buy in most stores. What can it be, you ask? It's dark chocolate! Dark chocolate has been a favorite to many people for quite a long time, most recently here in the United States. So I'm sharing a little bit of history about chocolate.
It all started in 1519 with Spanish General Hernando Cortes who visited Mexico and was served a hot beverage called "chocolate" in a nice golden cup. He liked it so much that he took a large quantity of cocoa beans back to Spain with him. The chocolate powder made from the cocoa beans was then mixed with vanilla and sugar and this is how it became a European favorite. By 1876 milk chocolate, which doesn't have the same health value as dark chocolate, was invented by Swiss Chocolatier, Daniel Peter.
Dark Chocolate Cocoa Beans
How was chocolate brought into the United States?
In 1765, Irish chocolate maker John Hanan brought the cocoa beans from the West Indies to Dorchester, Massachusetts. He, along with American Dr. James Baker, are credited with building the first chocolate mill in 1780. Here the chocolate was processed and formed in to the different types, varieties, and shapes that we have today.
Chopped Dark Chocolate
How is dark chocolate healthy?
Dark chocolate, specifically, contains many healthy antioxidants such as flavanols, polyphenols, and catechins. Did you know that one ounce of dark chocolate can be considered to have eight times as much polyphenol antioxidant as found in a serving of strawberries? Pretty amazing facts.
Research from Pennsylvania State University gives credit to cocoa powder as "having good cholesterol, known as HDL" European studies on dark chocolate have shown that even using small quantities of dark chocolate had an effect in lowering blood pressure and lessen hypertension, and helped in relaxation. Another study stated "The use of dark chocolate in a serving of 2 oz (50g) can even prevent heart disease" While other studies and doctors even give credence to dark chocolate as being a cancer fighting antioxidant. This is the same antioxidants that would be typically found in a 5 oz glass of red wine. Plus, it stated "dark chocolate stimulates the secretion of endorphins similar to a runner's high after jogging several miles" 40% of women crave chocolate, as opposed to only 10% of men do. Many health professionals warn about only using dark chocolate and in moderation. In fact, consuming small quantities is by far the best way to get all the positive effects of dark chocolate. Obviously, if a person uses any chocolate in large quantities it becomes a negative effect due to the possibility of weight gain and other unhealthy effects. So stick to small portions and make it dark chocolate and you should fine!
Elegant Dark Chocolate Squares
Final tips for dark chocolate lovers
So the next time you have an urge for something sweet, try a small piece of dark chocolate (not milk chocolate) and enjoy its decadence as well as its health value. Remember, eat small quantities of high quality chocolate for the most positive health effects! I think I'll go have a piece right now!
GHIRARDELLI Chocolate Intense Dark Squares
Amazing Benefits of Dark Chocolate
Did you learn that dark chocolate is healthy?
Nutrition Facts 4.5oz Dark Chocolate Bar
|Serving size: 4.5oz|
|Calories from Fat||153|
|% Daily Value *|
|Fat 17 g||26%|
|Saturated fat 12 g||60%|
|Unsaturated fat 0 g|
|Carbohydrates 22 g||7%|
|Sugar 17 g|
|Fiber 1 g||4%|
|Protein 3 g||6%|
|Cholesterol 20 mg||7%|
|Sodium 50 mg||2%|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|