Do you think chocolate is healthy? It is a good choice because it is loaded with nutrients like antioxidants, fiber, and minerals. Read on for details regarding the positive effects of this popular vegan food on your health.
Hot chocolate was not “a drink for humanity” to Girolamo Benzoni, who tried it for the first time in 1575 and promptly rejected it. The locals gave the Milanese merchant the beverage when he arrived in Mexico after the Spanish colonizers had already left. There had been a shortage of wine for a long time, and he finally gave in and tried some. He thought back on it and said, “That was satisfying and refreshing.” Despite the fact that “it tasted bitter,”
As a result, Benzoni lagged far behind the Spanish, who had already come to appreciate the Mayan dish. With typical colonial zeal, they packed up the idea and headed back to Europe. To lessen the bitterness, they added sugar, creating the modern version of drinking chocolate. It took a few decades of experimentation for someone to try to mold cocoa beans into a chocolate bar. And the rest, as they say (hi, Cadbury's), is history.
Cacao beans were once thought of as a health food by the Mayans before the economy built around them became the multibillion-dollar sugar factory it is today. Scientific investigation also reveals they were correct. The health advantages of chocolate exist when the food is consumed in its least processed form. In fact, it may be a healthy supplement to your current diet.
To begin with, 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 on every continent, but the Ivory Coast and Ghana are currently the world's leading bean producers for the chocolate business. Roasted cacao beans are more often known as cocoa, but the two names are occasionally used interchangeably.
Because they went through less processing, products with the word “cacao” on the label are more likely to be closer to chocolate's natural state. Yet, “cocoa” is perhaps more recognized by the general public because it describes the bean that is roasted, crushed, ground up, and processed to make various chocolate items available today.
The Health Benefits of Chocolate
Recent studies have shown that, just as the Mayans thought, chocolate does have health benefits. However, the least processed variety is preferred (dark chocolate is being discussed, not milk or white chocolate) for these benefits to kick in.
When shopping, seek out dark chocolates that boast high cocoa contents (preferably 70 percent or higher). Fiber, iron, magnesium, copper, and manganese are just some of the nutrients found in abundance in these choices. You may also shop online for brands like Earth Echo, which sells nutritious chocolate drinks and bits with little processing.
Cacao is a superfood with tons of health benefits. Danette May, co-founder of the company and a huge enthusiast of the cacao bean, claims that it has many positive effects on both physical and mental health. They go on to say that cocoa “has the potential to dramatically improve our general health and well-being,” thanks to the many ways in which it helps the body out (including by supplying necessary nutrients and boosting brain 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. In addition, new studies suggest that cocoa flavanols may help prevent cognitive decline with age.
How will you define a superfood?
May considers chocolate to be a “superfood.” But what precisely constitutes a superfood?
Although there is no legal definition of the phrase, it frequently refers to foods that are high in nutrients but low in calories. A few examples of foods that have been called “superfoods” in the past include avocados, blueberries, spinach, garlic, turmeric, and sweet potatoes. To what extent, however, does chocolate merit the same praise?
Do you think chocolate is healthy?
Foods high in beneficial nutrients are called “superfoods,” as May explains. Because of the abundance of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other healthful components in them, eating them regularly can have a significant impact on one's physical and mental well-being. When eaten in its pure form, without added sugar, milk, or flavorings, chocolate can also be considered a superfood.
Several studies have shown that it has more antioxidants than blueberries, cranberries, and pomegranates. It is also high in fiber and vitamins. In fact, it stands to reason that chocolate can hold its own against such fare. Cacao beans, in their most basic form, are also fruit seeds.
Making use of chocolate's status as a superfood
A number of different preparations can provide the health benefits of chocolate. People today enjoy it as much as the ancient Maya did; the global hot chocolate industry is worth more than $3.2 billion. That is why so many manufacturers create different blends. Some sugar-free chocolate powder combines the health benefits of cacao with those of numerous other whole foods and “superfoods,” including turmeric, black pepper, cinnamon, monk fruit, and coconut nectar.
Of course, people will always have a soft spot in their hearts for dessert. According to a 2021 study conducted by OnePoll, nearly half of US consumers reach for chocolate when they're having a terrible day. Hence, some manufacturers produce their own line 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 a type of cacao that hasn't been changed much, so it still tastes like the bean it came from in Central and South America. Also, as May puts it, it's “the highest grade of cocoa accessible.” It is derived from the cocoa bean's most concentrated and unadulterated forms. No sugar, dairy, or other additives have been included in the minimal processing of this chocolate.
Over the years, several other names have taken the place of “chocolate.” Others have called it “wicked,” “sinful,” and other negative descriptors, indicating that it is a bad habit for people to engage in. This centuries-old dessert, however, is receiving a 2023 health makeover thanks to a number of new brands. You can finally feel good about reaching for the cacao, knowing that you're helping your body in more ways than one. Have some snacks.