GARDEN ROUTE NEWS - We just love chocolate. Full stop.
So much has been written about it and will still be said that it is strange to think that the cocoa bean can solicit such vast volumes of conversation. Yet it does. And that is because it is simply irresistible.
Today you can have chilli-infused chocolate sauce on your steak, have chocolate flavoured cereal for breakfast, a chocolate snack in between meals and for lunch, a slice of toast with chocolate spread.
It is one of the most sensual and at times beneficial, substances around that shares the same sugar to fat ratio as breast milk.
Cocoa is native to South America and was revered by ancient cultures like the Maya, Aztecs, and Olmec.
The Aztecs believed it to be a gift from the gods, with coca beans even used as currency.
But today’s sweet treat is very different from the actual bitter taste of chocolate as would have been the case for consumption millennia ago.
The Mayans often enjoyed chocolate with almost every meal, as a beverage, their chocolate believed to be thick and frothy, frequently combined with chili, honey, or water. This was more than 1500 years BC. Chocolate only arrived in Europe around the fourteenth century.
While we tend to indulge due to chocolate’s creamy texture, delicious taste and, of course, the emotional connection we all seem to have developed with it, there is a lot more to the cocoa bean than meets the eye.
Here are 5 reasons you should consider your next bite:
- You can brush your teeth with it. Chocolate contains a chemical called theobromine that serves to prevent tooth decay and strengthens the enamel on your teeth.
- You can lose weight by eating chocolate. That is, of course, chocolate sans all the added sugar and fat. Again, another theobromine benefit. In addition, the substance lowers blood pressure and cholesterol while stimulating brain activity. Now who would have thought?
- Sugar free dark chocolate is broken down by bacteria in your stomach and converted to anti-inflammatory substances that helps with cardiovascular health, including the prevention of strokes.
- It makes you feel good, a lot more. Eating dark chocolate in particular releases serotonin and endorphins associated with positive moods.
- A study revealed that people who consumed a chocolate rich in flavanols (dark chocolate, not conventional milk chocolate) daily had better photoprotection, meaning it helps the skin become more effective against harmful UV rays.
Dark chocolate seems to be the golden chalice with so many health benefits said to emanate from consumption.
However, the sad part is, the more sugar and fat added, the greater the dilution of any wellness benefit.
Eating bitter chocolate is perhaps like going for a tough workout, it is not as great as indulging in a couch-potato regime, but rather an acquired taste where ultimately the benefits will outweigh the sacrifice of sweet.