Every fan of this treat knows exactly what I’m talking about. We can thank South America for this beauty, so we greet it from the bottom of our hearts …
Chocolate really grows on a tree.
But well, not exactly chocolate but cocoa. Evergreen cocoa trees originate from the Andes, Amazon and Orinoco, and the ancient Olmec gourmands consumed cocoa for religious and health purposes as early as around 2000 BC.
The natives used the name chokolatl, which means bitter water, and there was even a god of cocoa – Ek Chuah. Chocolate had the status of a deity, and cocoa beans were used as a means of payment.
Strange almonds with an unpleasant taste
The first European to come into contact with cocoa was, of course, the inquisitive Columbus. He described strange almonds with an unpleasant taste, and like everything he found in the New World, he brought cocoa to Europe. Since we Europeans prefer sweet rather than bitter, the Spanish monks, the first real chocolate makers, began adding vanilla, cinnamon and honey to cocoa mass. And so the first chocolate was born …
The era of modern chocolate began in 1815 when the addition of alkaline salts was introduced to reduce the bitterness of cocoa, and sugar and butter were also added. It’s starting to coat everything with chocolate and fill everything with chocolate, so factories are opened, many of which are still in operation today. It was once reserved for aristocrats, but quickly spread to all classes, for which we are very grateful.
The magic word is moderate
The pros and cons of chocolate are well known depending on the type of chocolate you are eating. Darker ones contain significant amounts of antioxidants, bioflavonoids, vitamins and minerals. They are richer in alkaloids, which have psychoactive, even antibacterial effects on humans. The unhealthy ones in some chocolates are added sugars, fats, and additives.
While eating just a bunch of freshly opened chocolates (well, maybe two or three) is an almost impossible task, chocolate in moderate amounts is a harmless indulgence.
Truth or delusion
Chocolate causes acne: Incorrect. There is no evidence of a link between chocolate and acne, so you can safely eat a few cubes.
Chocolate is addictive: Incorrect. Another urban legend that has no foothold in medicine. Habit, again, is a whole other thing.
Chocolate as an aphrodisiac: True / False. There is no evidence of a good effect of chocolate on sex life, but cocoa contains some chemical compounds that could boost the happiness hormone and give a little energy. If you are one of those who have recognized the beneficial effects… Go ahead.
Vascular system: Exactly. Short-term beneficial effects on blood pressure and platelets have been demonstrated.
Stimulant: Exactly. Caffeine and theobromine in chocolate are mild stimulants. However, if you feel sleepy, do not eat a bar of chocolate in the hope that it will revive you.
Weight gain: Exactly. More because of the extra stuff in the chocolates than because of the cocoa as such, often enjoying larger amounts of chocolate can make the scales moan when you step on it. Solution? Darker chocolate. And a magic word from a while ago.
So the truth is, as always, somewhere in the middle. Enjoy chocolate in moderation and sweet to you!