The health benefits of dark chocolate have been known for centuries. Dark chocolate is used as a libido booster, an aphrodisiac, and helps with depression.
Dark chocolate contains a substance called Anandamide. This chemical fires off the same pleasure centers in your brain as falling in love, creating a sense of ecstasy. This is the reason chocolate is often associated with lovers and the human heart.
In 1753, a scientist named Carl Von Linne named the cacao tree Theobroma Cacao. The word Theobroma Cacao translates into, Chocolate, Food of the Gods.
For thousands of years, chocolate was used as medicine, and was consumed by tribal leaders, noblemen, and the masses alike. 1,000 years ago, the ancient Mayans mixed cacao with herbs, wild harvested honey, cinnamon and rice. Cacoa even went into the graves and tombs of kings.
The Aztecs believed that chocolate gave them sexual powers and spiritual insight. The Aztecs used chocolate as face paint for religious ritualistic celebrations. At wedding ceremonies and rituals, chocolate was the favored beverage.
Early Incan tribes drank dark chocolate as a
beverage. For thousands of years, dark chocolate was drank in golden
goblets by emperors, kings and pharaohs,
and was considered a delicacy.
It's only in recent modern history that chocolate has been made into bars and eaten in its solid or brick form. The first chocolate bar was invented by J.S. Fry & Sons in 1830.
During modern processing, chocolate is traditionally sweetened. But 2000 years ago, Mayan and Aztec Indians made cacao into a bitter and spicy beverage. The processing and alkalizing of cacao is what reduces the bitterness and gives it a smoother texture.
When chocolate is harvested, it's heated and fermented. The polyphenols (antioxidants) in dark chocolate are very sensitive to heat and can destroy some of the nutritional content. Additionally, once food suppliers begin processing cacao, its nutritional content is once again affected because of added roasting.
An alkalizing process called dutching may further reduce the nutritional content of cacao. The addition of sugars, milk, and preservatives change the chemistry of chocolate, and reduce the natural health benefits of dark chocolate even further.
When You Crave Chocolate, Nothing Else Will Do
When I'm craving chocolate, the rich smooth taste of Green & Blacks Organic Dark Chocolate goes down like silk. Of all the chocolates I've ever eaten, this one has the best flavor. Not even Lindt or Godiva can compare to the intense texture and flavor of Green & Blacks Dark Chocolate.
One of the most well know health benefits of dark chocolate is its ability to lift your spirits and prevent depression.
Dark chocolate is considered an energy stimulant and mood booster. As many women will attest, chocolate is the only thing that will do during the dramatic mood shifts that come with menstruation.
The Chocolate Industry:
In 1894, Milton S. Hershey was the first innovator to mass produce chocolate. By the 1900s, Mr. Hershey introduced his wildly popular milk chocolate bar. This is the period where the chocolate bar really took off. In Hershey's empire, massive amounts of sugar and milk were added to sweeten bitter cacoa seeds.
Processing chocolate is very complicated. When cacao is heated and processed, many of the health benefits of dark chocolate are lost. Consumers should eat dark chocolate with little or no sugar, and very little processing.
Chocolate is such an important part of our culture, there are meticulously crafted chocolate tours that will guide you step by step on the history of this decadent, succulent treat.
Consumers need to make sure they're eating at least 70% cacao or higher. The higher the percentage of cacao, the greater the health benefits of dark chocolate.
72% cacoa solids seems to be the threshold of tolerance for most people. 85% and higher is very bitter, and tends to be an acquired taste. Extra dark chocolate of 85% or higher reminds me of unsweetened coffee.
Dark chocolate is a life saver. The bitter, dark chocolate will not raise your blood sugar, and can be used to satisfy a sweet tooth.
Interesting Facts: Consumers eat approximately 12 pounds of chocolate per person, per year, costing $20 billion!
Chocolate and Acne
Chocophiles rejoice. Dark chocolate benefits your skin. In the 1970's and '80s, dermatologists and doctors advised their patients to avoid chocolate to prevent acne. We now know that dark chocolate prevents the inflammation that leads to acne. So it's not the chocolate that's causing the problem, it's the high amount of sugar contained in most chocolates that is the culprit. Sugar is a well-known inflammatory. Natural Dark Chocolate is Excellent For Your Skin.
Dark Chocolate is nutritionally complex. The best sources should be unprocessed. Products like chocolate cake do not have the same nutritional punch as natural dark chocolate.
Dark Chocolate is
Dark Chocolate Prevents Disease
Dark chocolate is associated with lowered blood pressure, it's rich in antioxidants, and lowers the risk for cardiovascular disease.
Click here to learn more about the health benefits of dark chocolate.
Link here to our Delicious Chocolate Brownie Recipe!
Caution: Remember to keep your precious dogs away from chocolate. They do not have the enzyme necessary to metabolize theobromine that chocolate contains. Two ounces of chocolate can poison a dog that weighs ten pounds or less.
Dark chocolate is the smartest choice
consumers can make to satisfy their sweet tooth