Chocolate… we all love it, and the good news is that it’s good for us (when it actually contains cocoa). Whether we want to stay young, healthy and full of energy or we want to loose weight, chocolate is the super food to reach out for.
BUT, there is a big but: Chocolate, if it doesn’t have enough cocoa content, will make us fat, sluggish and and give us zits. However, chocolate in itself is not to blame for all these unwanted effects. It’s the added sugars and fats in chocolate that are the culprits for all sorts of undesirable health effects. The cocoa content in good quality chocolate is the main responsible for the healthy benefits. Moreover, we can now buy 100% chocolate to use in savory cooking! The best use for this 100% Cacao Unsweetened Chocolate,
is melting one square in the hot gravy boat, which gives the gravy a silky, unusual and heavenly texture and taste.
Let’s find out more about chocolate and cocoa:
The History of Cocoa:
Chocolate was discovered almost by chance, when the Central American natives were preparing their beer with the pulp of the cocoa pods and decided to try using the waste resulted from this process.
The cacao tree was the most beautiful tree in the Aztec paradise and many virtues were attributed to its cocoa bean, such as providing wisdom or curing diseases. The Mayans were the first to start preparing a bitter cocoa concoction (well, the healthy chocolate) called ” chocolha”. They used raw cocoa beans, roasted cocoa beans, cocoa powder, cocoa butter and local spices to prepare various hot or cold, solid or liquid end chocolate products. Aztec doctors were prescribing this chocolate as natural cure for many ailments due to its relaxants, stimulants or tonic properties. Cocoa butter was a natural remedy for healing wounds.
- Christopher Columbus was the first man to be part of Aztec society and to receive, as a welcome gift, bags of dark cocoa beans that the Indians used not only as food but also as a currency.
- Later, Hernán Cortés sent a shipment of this cocoa beans to Spain.
- In Switzerland, Henry Nestlé was the main responsible of awarding fame to the Swiss chocolate.
- During Second World War when chocolate became more popular as it was an energetic aliment that was easy and convenient to transport.
- Provides energy
- Reduces appetite
- Enhances the mood
- Reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease
- Reverses ageing due to its antioxidant effects
- Effective against depression
- Regulates body temperature
- Provides minerals (phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, iron, calcium, zinc ) and vitamins ( B1, B2 and E )