Chocolate is a food product made from the beans of the cacao tree. It is a popular treat enjoyed by people all over the world and comes in many different forms, including dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and white chocolate.
When it comes to nutrition and health benefits, chocolate does have some positive aspects. Dark chocolate, in particular, is high in antioxidants and flavonoids, which can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and stroke. Dark chocolate is also rich in minerals such as iron, magnesium, and potassium. In addition, it has been shown to improve brain function and boost mood.
Hot chocolate was initially provided to Girolamo Benzoni in 1575, but the Italian merchant refused it because he said it wasn't “a drink for humanity.” After the Spanish had occupied Mexico, the indigenous people there sent the Milanese merchant a gift of the beverage. However, when there was a temporary wine scarcity, he gave it a try and quickly became a devotee. He thought back on it and said, “It was satisfying and refreshing.” It doesn't matter whether the flavor is unpleasant, says the speaker.
The Spanish had already become fond of the Mayan dish long before Benzoni discovered it, and he lagged far behind. They appropriated the idea and brought it back to Europe in typical colonialist fashion. To make it more palatable, sugar was added to the mix, and so the modern version of drinking chocolate was developed. It took a few centuries for anyone to try molding cocoa beans into chocolate bars. And the rest, as they say (hi, Cadbury's), is history.
Cacao beans were originally viewed as a health food by the Mayans, long before chocolate became the sugary, multibillion dollar industry that it is today. The evidence now reveals that they were correct. Health advantages of chocolate exist when the food is consumed in its least processed form. In fact, there is some evidence that eating it can improve your health. Vegan and superfood-focused brands like Earth Echo are dedicated to raising public awareness of this fact. I'll explain why.
What is Chocolate?
Cacao beans are the little seeds found inside the huge pod-like fruits produced by Theobroma cacao trees, which are the source of chocolate. Trees may be found in every continent, but the Ivory Coast and Ghana are currently the world's leading bean producers for the chocolate business. Cacao beans, after roasted, are more often known as cocoa, although the two phrases are occasionally used interchangeably.
In general, less processing has been done to the chocolate when the word “cacao” appears on the label. However, “cocoa” is more likely to ring a bell because of the widespread use of the word in reference to the bean that is roasted, crushed, ground, and otherwise processed to make many varieties of chocolate sold today.
The Healthy Side of Chocolate: Its Many Advantages
According to scientific studies, the Mayans were correct in their assumption that chocolate was good for you. However, the least processed variety is preferred for maximum benefit (therefore we are not discussing milk or white chocolate).
When shopping, seek out dark chocolates that boast high cocoa content (preferably 70 percent or higher). These choices are excellent sources of nutrients like fiber, iron, magnesium, copper, and manganese. On the other hand, you may go online and find companies like Earth Echo, which sells nutrient-rich chocolate drinks and snacks with minimal processing.
Incredibly healthy and delicious, cacao is a superfood par excellence. Danette May, co-founder of the company and a huge enthusiast of the cacao bean, claims it has many health advantages for both the body and the mind. They continue, “cacao has the ability to dramatically improve our general health and well-being, from giving necessary nutrients to enhancing brain health and heart health.”
Furthermore, scientific evidence supports their argument. In 2017, researchers found that consuming all three of these items together reduced “bad cholesterol,” or LDL, levels, which is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Plus, new evidence suggests that cocoa's flavanols may help prevent cognitive decline with age.
What is a superfood?
May considers chocolate to be a nutritional powerhouse. And has based their entire Earth Echo brand on that premise. Well then, what exactly is a superfood?
Although there is no official meaning of the term, it is commonly understood to refer to a food that is high in nutrients but low in calories. Avocados, blueberries, spinach, garlic, turmeric, and sweet potatoes are just some examples of foods that have been called “superfoods” in the past. However, should chocolate be given the same status?
Can you tell me if chocolate is a superfood?
Foods high in beneficial nutrients are called “superfoods,” as May explains. They include several nutrients that are good for you and can contribute to a higher quality of life, including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and more. Therefore, chocolate does also qualify as a superfood when ingested without all the processing and added milk and artificial flavorings.
There is evidence that it provides more antioxidants than blueberries, cranberries, pomegranates, and other similar fruits. So it stands to reason that chocolate can hold its own against such fare. Cacao beans are fruit seeds, too, when they are refined to their purest form.
Taking use of chocolate's status as a superfood
The beneficial effects of chocolate, a “superfood,” can be consumed in a variety of forms. Hot chocolate is still a popular drink (the global market for it is worth more than $3.2 billion), just as it was in the time of the Mayans. Cacao Bliss, Earth Echo's own sipping chocolate blend, fills this void. Several whole foods and healthy “superfood” ingredients, including cacao, turmeric, black pepper, cinnamon, monk fruit, and coconut nectar, make up the sugar-free, low-calorie chocolaty powder.
Sweet treats remain a popular choice, though. Nearly half of American customers in 2021 said they reach for chocolate when they're having a terrible day, according to a survey by OnePoll. Therefore, Earth Echo produces its own selection of chocolate nibbles, which provide the same level of chocolatey enjoyment as conventional chocolate but also contain all the beneficial compounds found in raw ceremonial-grade cacao.
The latter is an unprocessed variety of cacao, faithful to the ingredient's Central and South American origins. Cacao of this quality is “the highest grade of cacao accessible,” as May puts it. It contains nothing but the finest, most powerful cacao beans. This chocolate has been processed far less than the typical supermarket kind, and it also doesn't have any sugar, dairy, or other additives.
Chocolate has received a wide variety of nicknames throughout the years. Some have called it “naughty,” “wicked,” and even “sinful.” This centuries-old pleasure, however, is receiving a 2023 health makeover thanks to a slew of new companies. The next time you crave cocoa, you may relax in the knowledge that you're actually doing your body a favor. Begin munching on some snacks.
The term “superfood” is a marketing term used to describe foods that are considered to be particularly nutritious and beneficial to health. However, there is no scientific definition of a superfood, and the term is not recognized by the scientific community.
Given the positive nutrition and health benefits of dark chocolate, some people might argue that it could be considered a superfood. However, it is important to keep in mind that no single food can provide all the nutrients and benefits that a person needs for optimal health. A varied and balanced diet, including a range of nutrient-dense foods, is the best way to ensure adequate nutrition.
If you are looking to tap into the health benefits of dark chocolate, here are two delicious recipes to try:
Dark Chocolate Bark with nuts and Dried Fruit
Get recipe here:
Dark Chocolate Avocado Mousse
Get recipe here: