World Chocolate Day celebrated on July 7 is all about celebrating perhaps the finest creation of humankind. If there ever was anything that everyone unanimously agreed upon, it would be about chocolate’s delicious taste. Chocolates, aside from being mouth-watering, also work as a perfect mood enhancer and has some surprising health benefits.
Chocolate originated in Mesoamerica and the first fermented chocolate beverage dates back to 450 BC. The origin of the word ‘chocolate’ is from the classical ‘Nahuatl’ word – Xocolātl. The Aztecs were of the belief that the cacao seeds were a gift from the God of wisdom and it steadily became so popular that it began being used as currency. Personally, we would not mind reverting to that tradition!
Many present-day chocolate companies began operations in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Cadbury began in England by 1868. And then 25 years later Milton S. Hershey, purchased chocolate processing equipment at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, he is now one of the biggest and world-known chocolate creators in the world. He began the company by producing chocolate-coated caramels. Nestlé began back in the 1860s and has grown into one of the largest food conglomerates in the world.
Here are some benefits of chocolate:-
- High nutritional value: Chocolates contain an adequate amount of soluble fibre and minerals. It contains magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, potassium, selenium, phosphorous, and zinc. It also has little amounts of caffeine content but it is not enough to make you stay up at night.
- Advantageous for fetal development and growth: According to a study, consumption of about 30g of chocolate every day during pregnancy proved to be advantageous for the development and growth of the fetus. The study was presented at the 2016 Pregnancy Meeting of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine in Atlanta, GA.
- Rich source of antioxidants: Chocolates have antioxidants, including polyphenols, flavanols, catechins, etc, that prove to be extremely beneficial for the body.
- Lowers risk of heart disease: According to a research published in The BMJ, the risk of development of heart disease is lowered by one third due to the consumption of chocolate. This is because the compounds present in chocolate are protective against (low-density lipoprotein) LDL’s oxidation. This prevents the lodging of cholesterol in the arteries thereby lowering the risk of developing heart disease.
- Improves blood pressure and blood flow: The simulation of endothelium takes place that simulates the production of nitric oxide. Nitric Oxide helps to lower the resistance to blood flow, thereby reducing blood pressure.