Over 2,000 years ago when chocolate was discovered in South America, the beans were so valuable that they were used as currency. The cacao (kah kow) tree or as it was called “Theobroma Cacao” translates into “Food of the Gods.” Aztec priests would use the beans to make a thick un-sweetened drink and often mix it with vanilla or other available spices. It was Christopher Columbus who is credited with introducing this new taste sensation into European society. There the beans were mixed with milk and honey and more closely resembles the taste that we enjoy today.
Dark chocolate is loaded with health promoting polyphenols. These are antioxidants that may actually lower blood pressure and promote vascular health. Dark cocoa is credited with having more polyphenols than red wine or even green tea. The cocoa bean contains flavanols which are believed to increase the production of nitric oxide in the bloodstream and improve blood vessel function.
Scientific studies have shown that eating chocolate can potentially lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, promote blood flow, and improve your mood. Chocolate also acts as an aphrodisiac by stimulating an energy lift and aids in the feeling of exhilaration.
Cocoa is heavy in niacin, potassium, magnesium, and other healthy minerals. It also contains healthy or “good” saturated fat classified as monounsaturated fat or stearic acid. Cocoa has been used in health and beauty products for years. Cocoa butter sun care products and skin lotions are used to promote that youthful, healthy appearance.
Over the centuries, chocolate has evolved into a universal taste sensation enjoyed by millions of people every day.