Breaking News Story: Is Chocolate Really Healthy for you? Read what History says – Copy
WebMD Sunday, June 12, 2016 Breaking News Story: Is Chocolate Really Healthy for you? Read what History says. When trying to decide between milk and dark chocolate, dark chocolate is your healthiest choice. It’s not up there with spinach, but the darker the chocolate is, often the less fat and sugar it has. Chocolate has a long reputation as an aphrodisiac. Aztec ruler Montezuma supposedly drank a chocolaty concoction before visiting the women in his harem. The Mayans and Aztecs believed chocolate had all kinds of healing powers. They used it to treat everything from fevers and seizures to skin infections. The Aztecs valued it so much they made it into drinks and used it for important religious and royal events. But they couldn’t grow cacao (the beans used to make chocolate) in their very dry climate. Instead, they traded with other cultures for the beans or made the people they conquered pay taxes with them. When chocolate made its way to Europe in the 1600s, some doctors used it to try to treat illnesses — like ulcers and ringworm. Meanwhile, other docs thought it caused illnesses and drunkenness! It’s also believed that nuns were forbidden to eat it at one time because it was thought to be so romantically potent. And French doctors supposedly used it to treat broken hearts. Comment….I found these historical facts to be unusually interesting! Dark chocolate has the least processing — that means it has the most antioxidant-like flavonoids, which may help lower blood pressure and cholesterol. The higher the percentage of cocoa, typically the more flavonoids the chocolate has. But don’t eat lots of chocolate in hopes of better health. A serving size is about the same as a package of dental floss. Chocolate does have caffeine. But if you’re looking to get a caffeine boost, chocolate isn’t your best bet. You’d need to eat 14 regular-sized (1.5-ounce) bars of milk chocolate to get the same caffeine as you’d find in an 8-ounce cup of coffee! That would have about 3,000 calories and more than 300 grams of sugar — compared to only about two calories in black coffee. Dark chocolate does have more caffeine than milk chocolate. Even then, it would take four bars to give you the same buzz as one cup of regular coffee. White chocolate has cocoa butter, so technically it’s called chocolate. But it doesn’t have cocoa solids — the ingredient that gives chocolate its dark, rich color. Chocolate lovers eat individually close to 12 pounds of chocolate per year. And most of that is milk chocolate. More than 90% of Americans say they prefer milk chocolate over dark or white. It takes a long time to work off all that chocolate. It would take a 130-pound woman about 4 days and nights (95 hours) of brisk walking to burn off those calories! Lesser Known Facts Believe it or not, Valentine’s Day isn’t No. 1 when it comes to buying sweets. Halloween, Easter, and Christmas are all bigger candy-buying occasions. Nearly 90 million chocolate bunnies are made each year to feed our need to nibble. But that doesn’t mean chocolate isn’t big on February 14. More than 36 million heart-shaped boxes of candy are sold each Valentine’s Day. Chocolate has hundreds of chemicals, and some work on the brain. According to some research, eating chocolate stimulates your brain to make opioids — kind of giving you a natural high that makes you feel happy like when you are in love. However, people with migraines aren’t so lucky. Their headaches may be triggered by certain foods. And chocolate is reported as a common trigger. Want to give your brownies or other chocolate baked goods a little extra chocolaty goodness? Try adding a bit of instant espresso powder — a teaspoon or less — in your next recipe. Espresso powder can ramp up the chocolate taste in cakes, brownies, and cookies without adding coffee flavor or many calories. In Mexico, cacao seeds are put in a traditional dish called molé. It’s often served as part of Day of the Dead ceremonies, where families celebrate and honor family members who have died. Dutch-processed or Dutched chocolate is cocoa powder or chocolate liquor that has been treated to end up with a milder taste and a darker color. Dutched or alkalized cocoa is used in delicate, European-type baking. Natural, unsweetened cocoa powder is more intense and often used in brownies, cookies, and cakes .