Chocolate is made from the fruit of cacao tree. It is indigenous to South America. The seeds of this tree were once considered valuable and were traded in the form of money by Aztec civilization of Mexico. Cacao beans undergo many types of processes before chocolate is produced. The end product chocolate confectionery is made by adding sugar, additional milk and fat. Traditionally, the fat added to chocolate is cacao butter which gives characteristic melting taste in the mouth texture.
While grinding cacao beans, the heat melts the fat in cacao beans and fatty material is released which is bitter in taste, it is called chocolate liquor.There are various types of chocolates available, unsweetened, bitter, dark, white and milk chocolate. It depends on the amount of liquor, cacao butter and solids used.
Though chocolate is considered high in fats and can contribute to weight gain if eaten in excess amount, eating chocolate gives an instant uplift in the energy level. Nutritionally, chocolate is packed with protein, sugar and minerals. Chocolate contains flavanoids, which are potent free radical scavengers and destroyers. These antioxidants thwart oxidative damage to the cells of human body.
Health Benefits Of Eating Chocolate
- Heart health: The flavonoid content in chocolate cuts down the risk of cardiovascular disorders. These anti-oxidants prevent oxidation of LDL, clotting / clumping of platelets, and consequently, stave off the occurrence of atherosclerosis. Chocolate diminishes the level of LDL / bad cholesterol and also maintain normal blood pressure levels. In fact, research and studies conducted state that dark chocolate acts like a blood thinner, preventing blood clots. Thus, chocolate supports cardiovascular health.
- Diminishes stroke risk: The antioxidants present in chocolate are believed to reduce the risk of stroke. Flavanoids are plant nutrients, present in cacao seeds. Flavanoids help to dissuade the low density of lipids to stick the walls of blood vessels. Excess of this type of cholesterol is responsible for stroke and heart disease. Flavanoids are found high in dark chocolates.
- Protects against cancer: Research also states that these anti-oxidants prevent damage to the cells’ DNA and thus warding off the development of cancer. Flavanoids combat free radicals and check breast cancer, colon cancer and lung cancer, effectively.
- Uplifts mood: Chocolate is believed to boost serotonin and endorphin levels in the brain, which has an uplifting effect. Phenylethylamine is a substance which is found naturally in brain and is released at times of emotional stress. Chocolates also contain the stimulant theobromine and caffeine, both increase alertness.
Why Is Chocolate Good For Skin?
Topical application of chocolate on the skin has become increasingly popular. A large number of skin care products have started adding chocolate. Also, spas offer a whole range of therapies and skin care procedure that involve the use of chocolate.
Chocolate is packed with powerful anti-oxidants. These fight oxidative damage to the skin cells via the free radicals. Thus, they halt the onslaught of aging and delay the appearance of the undesirable signs of aging. Chocolate prevents wrinkle formation and imparts a wonderful, healthy glow to the skin. Regular treatment using chocolate will yield brilliant results.