Early cocoa use dates back to the Olmec civilization in Mesoamerica.
After the European discovery of the Americas, Chocolate has become very popular in the whole world
Cocoa/chocolate has since become a popular food product enjoyed by millions every day. Thanks to its unique and rich taste.
Cacao residue on pottery in Ecuador indicates that the plant was consumed by humans 5,000 years ago.
It is likely that the tree was cultivated in the upper Amazon region and then spread north.
It was widely cultivated more than 3,000 years ago by the Mayans, Toltecs, and Aztecs. who prepared a drink from the beans (sometimes they use it as a ceremonial drink).
Christopher Columbus transported cocoa beans to Spain after his fourth voyage in 1502. And the Spanish conquistadors were introduced, who arrived in Mexico in 1519
Although Spain has guarded the secret of its drink for nearly 100 years, However, it arrived in Italy in 1606.
She became famous in France with the marriage of the Spanish princess Maria Theresa to Louis XIV in 1660.
And in 1657, A Frenchman opened a store in London. Where he sells his solid chocolate products that will be transformed into drinks.
Soon, chocolate shops selling hot drinks appeared all over Europe.
Cocoa is grown on a tree known as Theobroma cacao. It grows 20 degrees north and south of the equator and thrives in a combination of hot temperatures and rain.
Each tree bears oval fruits, or horns, They are about 5-12 inches long. Each pod contains 30 to 50 seeds. These seeds are known to the world as cocoa beans.
Chocolate is the most prominent use of cocoa by fermenting it and then drying it under the scorching sun for fourteen days.
To produce chocolate, cocoa mass is combined with more cocoa butter and sweeteners to make chocolate. The higher the percentage of cocoa in the chocolate, the higher its quality.
Health benefits of cocoa/chocolate
Despite its bad reputation for causing weight gain, It may be associated with a number of health benefits.
According to a review of the health effects of chocolate published in the Dutch Medical Journal, There are many health benefits of cocoa/chocolate
The authors indicate that cocoa, main ingredient in chocolate, Contains active phenolic compounds.
Polyphenols are antioxidants that occur naturally in foods such as fruits, vegetables, tea, and chocolate.
It has been linked to many health benefits, including reduced inflammation, improve blood flow, Lower blood pressure and improve blood cholesterol and sugar levels.
Eating chocolate has the following health benefits:
- Reducing blood cholesterol levels
- Prevent cognitive decline
- Reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems
- Reducing harmful cholesterol
One study published in the Journal of Nutrition states, It indicates that consuming chocolate may help lower blood pressure by reducing levels of lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.
The researchers concluded that: regular consumption of chocolate chips, As part of a low-fat diet, Supports heart health by improving blood pressure.
Scientists at Harvard Medical School have suggested that drinking two cups of hot chocolate a day can help maintain brain health and reduce memory decline in the elderly.
Researchers found that hot chocolate helped improve blood flow to parts of the brain where it was needed.[bs-quote quote=”الاستهلاك المنتظم لشرائح الشوكولاتة، كجزء من نظام غذائي قليل الدسم، يدعم صحة القلب عن طريق تحسين ضغط الدم” style=”style-17″ align=”center” author_name=”موقع ncbi” author_job=”الباحثون” author_link=”https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24915376″][/bs-quote]
Canadian scientists found, People who ate one serving of chocolate were 22% less likely to have a stroke.
Another study followed, Published in Heart Magazine in 2015, The effect of diet on the long-term health of 25,000 men and women.
The findings suggest that eating up to 100 grams of chocolate per day may be associated with a lower risk of heart disease and stroke.
Eating 30 grams of chocolate per day during pregnancy may benefit the growth and development of the fetus. According to a study presented at the 2016 Pregnancy Conference.
In addition to the positive effect of cocoa on age-related mental degeneration, Its effect on the brain may also improve mood and symptoms of depression.
Positive effects on mood may be due to cocoa flavanols. Or converting tryptophan into serotonin, which acts as a natural mood stabilizer.
Improve symptoms of type 2 diabetes
Although excessive consumption of chocolate is certainly not good for controlling blood sugar, However, cocoa actually has some anti-diabetic effects.
Studies show that cocoa flavanols can slow down the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates in the intestine. It improves insulin secretion.
It also reduces inflammation and stimulates the uptake of sugar out of the blood into the muscles.
Some studies have shown that eating more cocoa, It can lead to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
It is believed that cocoa may be beneficial for people with asthma. because it contains anti-disease compounds, such as theobromine and theophylline.
Theobromine is similar to caffeine and can help keep coughs at bay. Cocoa powder contains about 1.9 grams of this compound per 100 grams.
Oral health promotion
Several studies have discovered the protective effects of cocoa against tooth decay and gum disease.
Cocoa contains several compounds that have anti-bacterial, anti-enzyme and immune-stimulating properties that may contribute to its effects on oral health.
Long-term consumption of cocoa has also been shown to contribute to sun protection, blood circulation to the skin, and improvement of skin texture and hydration.
Improve athletic performance
Findings published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition suggest that consuming dark chocolate may increase oxygen availability during fitness training.
Scientists believe that the success of dark chocolate in this case is that it contains flavonols known as epicatechins, Which promotes the release of nitric oxide in the body.
Risks of eating chocolate/cocoa
However, the benefits and risks of any other ingredients must be considered. Like sugar and fat.
Chocolate, which is high in sugar, can lead to tooth decay if consumed in excess.
Some studies suggest that chocolate consumption is associated with a lower BMI and central body fat.
However, Chocolate can be high in calories due to its sugar and fat content.
Anyone trying to lose weight or maintain their weight should limit their chocolate consumption and check the label of their favorite product.
The high sugar content in most types of chocolate can be a cause of tooth decay.
Some people may experience an increase in migraines when consuming chocolate regularly due to the histamine tyramine, chestnut, and phenylalanine content.
There is some evidence that chocolate may cause osteoporosis.
Findings from a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Older women who ate chocolate every day had lower bone density and strength.
The nutrients are in light, not dark, cocoa
Below are some of the nutrient levels in chocolate. Where (100 grams) of cocoa contains the following:
- 531 kcal calories
- 8.51 grams of protein
- 58g of carbohydrates
- 30.57 grams of fat
- 54 g of sugars
- 0.91 mg of iron
- 206 mg of phosphorous
- 438 mg of potassium
- 101 mg of sodium
- 251 mg of calcium
- 24 mg of cholesterol
Some food products that contain cocoa and chocolate on the IM Dieter website
- Fresh Almarai chocolate milk
- Nadec milk with chocolate
- Protein milk and chocolate nada
- Betty Crocker cookies with chocolate and chocolate chips
- Nesquik Bar
- Nestle Chocolate Bar
- Cake Bar Seven Days
- Lusine cupcake with chocolate
- Kit Kat Dark
- Lindt Dark Chocolate 85% LINDT EXCELLENCE
- Liu purple biscuit
- Quality ice cream with chocolate