In the 1800s, the Cadbury Brothers set up shop in England and began packaging candies to sell to a mainstream audience. In 1861 Richard Cadbury created the first ever heart-shaped box for Valentine’s Day. This year more than 36 million heart shaped boxes of chocolate will be sold for Valentine’s Day.
Centuries before Cadbury, the Aztecs and the Mayans worshiped cacao (a.k.a. chocolate).
The Mayan and Aztec Indians of Central America and Mexico were the first to use chocolate. Spanish explorers brought cacao beans from Mexico to Spain in the 1500s. By the 1700s, chocolate and cocoa were popular throughout Europe.
Many years ago the word cacao was misspelled in English as cocoa. English-speaking countries began to call products of the cacao tree cocoa beans, cocoa butter, and cocoa powder.
Cacao beans are harvested and processed into thick liquid called chocolate liquor. This liquid is used to make all the delicious chocolate products we eat.
Milk chocolate is the most popular of all chocolate products. Milk solids and sugar are added to chocolate liquor. It is dark chocolate that has heart health benefits.
Why is Dark Chocolate Healthy?
Chocolate is made from a plant and contains many health benefits of dark vegetables. Dark chocolate contains a large number of antioxidants and flavonoids that help which studies have shown lower blood pressure through the production of nitric oxide. Also dark chocolate has also been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol by up to 10 percent.
Cacao, the source of chocolate, contains antibacterial agents that fight tooth decay. It is important to note the high sugar content of milk chocolate will counteract this.
Chocolate contains phenyl ethylamine, a mild mood elevator; as well as the carbohydrates in chocolate raise serotonin levels in the brain, resulting in a sense of well-being.
It is important to keep in mind chocolate is still a high-calorie, high-fat food. Most studies suggest that we eat no more than 3.5 ounces of dark chocolate a day to get the benefits.
Enjoy your heart-shape box of chocolate,
Sources and Related Articles
•Chocolate as a Health Food - Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate
•Dark Chocolate - Can Dark Chocolate Lower Your Cholesterol