Health

Why Chocolate Is Good For You

Photo by Michele Blackwell on Unsplash

Chocolate, Chocolat, Cokelat. Whatever language you say it, tastes just as good. Pair ’em up with strawberries, pineapple or cashew nuts, and guess what, it tastes even better! I was never a big fan of dark chocolate since where I live dark chocolates are considered a luxury item. But having learned the many health benefits that it has, I am now convinced that it really is worth it to incorporate dark chocolate into my regular diet.

History of Chocolate

Chocolate can be traced back to the the ancient Mayans, and even earlier to the ancient Olmecs of southern Mexico. For the Mayans, chocolate drinks were used in times of celebration and to finalize important transactions. Chocolate was widely available in the Mayan culture and almost everyone had access to it. Many Mayan households enjoyed chocolate with every meal. Their version of chocolate was not similar to what we know today. It wasn’t in the form of a chocolate bar but more in the form of a drink or liquid. It was thick and frothy and often combined with chili peppers, honey or water. This made me wonder, how did chocolate become so well known in the world if it originated so long ago in a place so far away. The answer, as with many cultural crossings, is in the great explorers of the past. In this case, it was Christopher Columbus. Legend has it that he discovered cacao beans when he intercepted a trade ship on its way to America. He then brought the beans back to Spain with him in 1502. Chocolate continued to flourish in Europe. And up to the 19th century, chocolate was always enjoyed as a beverage, where milk is often added instead of water. It wasn’t until 1847 when the first chocolate bar was molded from a paste made of sugar, chocolate, liquor and cocoa butter by J.S. Fry and Sons. This was the beginning of the chocolate bar as we know it. Not long after that, Daniel Peter started adding dried milk powder to chocolate and created milk chocolate in 1876. Several years later he and his friend Henri Nestle created the Nestle company and brought milk chocolate to the mass market. And the rest as they say, is history.

Benefits of Consuming Dark Chocolate

Recently I’ve been getting a constant headache for the last few days. I was not sure if the cause of my headache was internal or external. Normally I would go to my acupuncturist but due to the current pandemic situation, I did not have the courage to venture too far away . I then googled “How to cure headaches naturally”. I stumbled across an article that said the high amount of magnesium in chocolate can help reduce migraines and other types of headaches. By this time I was so tired of constantly putting on a hot patch on my forehead to be able to sleep at night, I thought “Why not”. The article also said that the type of chocolate to be consumed needed to be a minimum 70% dark chocolate. I quickly searched online for a dark chocolate which could be delivered .I purchased two bars of 70% dark chocolate and couldn’t wait to venture on my experiment.

When you buy dark chocolate, the vitamins contains in it are truly endless. Rich in fiber, iron, magnesium, copper, manganese to name a few. Studies have shown that consuming dark chocolate on average minimum twice a week can lower the risk of heart disease. Chocolate has also been scientifically proven to have more antioxidants than fruits such a Blueberries and Acai Berries. This simply means dark chocolate is also good for anti aging. I was definitely sold on this benefit. Despite the fact that chocolate does have many benefits, please remember that like everything else, moderation is key. Best to have a square or two after dinner instead of one whole bar per day.

The chocolate bars I ordered arrived rather quickly the following day. I eagerly ate two squares that day and did the same every day until the two bars were finished. To my surprise, my headache went away on the third day of routinely consuming the dark chocolate. I was beyond amazed! I always thought dark chocolate was a luxury that people who are on a strict diet ate to avoid excess sugar. I never knew that dark chocolate can really make a difference in my health. After experiencing first hand the benefits of dark chocolate, I am now consuming them on a more regular basis. I’ve discovered that 70% dark chocolate suits me the best, it’s the perfect balance of bitterness with a hint of sweet. The higher the percentage of dark chocolate, the more bitter the chocolate.

Types of Dark Chocolate

This came as a surprise to me, having thought that chocolate percentages ranged from 70–90%. However the store that I bought the dark chocolate from actually sold 100% dark chocolate. This was pure chocolate with no sugar at all. Thinking that this would be the healthiest type of chocolate to consume, I bought one bar to try. And I can safely say that was a really really big mistake! Turns out, 100% dark chocolate was not only bitter but it was also very sour with some acidic notes to it. So much so, that my eyes started to water when I took a second bite due to the bitterness and sourness that followed. I tried three types of dark chocolate to see which would be suitable for my palette; the 70% bar was exquisitely luxurious with a perfect balance of sweet and bitterness, the 85% bar the bitterness was really overpowering, and the 100% bar just made me straight out cry with overpowering bitterness and sourness.

If you are looking to traditional medicines or remedies to improve your health, I highly recommend adding dark chocolate to your daily diet. It really does work! I definitely felt it when my headache went away after routinely consuming dark chocolate for several days. Now more than ever we have to be vigilant about our health and what we put in our bodies. If you are thinking of adding dark chocolate into your diet, make sure you do your research before hand. If you want to play it safe, go to global brands that specialize in chocolates with their array of flavors to choose from. I prefer to support local brands and farmers and purchase my dark chocolate from a local brand. Also, just because 70% dark chocolate is the minimum dark chocolate that has health benefits, doesn’t mean that every now and then you can’t savor the 59% dark chocolate with the various flavor combinations offered. I recently tried a 59% dark chocolate which was combined with sea salt and pepper and all I can say is that was one of the best flavor combinations I’ve ever tasted in my life! The saltiness of the sea salt complimented the sweet and bitterness of the chocolate, as the chocolate melted, the subtle hints of pepper kicked in on your tongue and slowly the warmth can be felt at back of your throat. It was truly a magical symphony. Balance is the key to life. So don’t forget to balance your 70% dark chocolate with some other flavorful chocolates and have some fun with it!

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Digital Communications Consultant | PR | Creative Content Creator | LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ndarapati/ | Podcast: https://anchor.fm/darapati

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Nonggol Darapati

Nonggol Darapati

Digital Communications Consultant | PR | Creative Content Creator | LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ndarapati/ | Podcast: https://anchor.fm/darapati

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