Health benefits of chocolate
Chocolate is the name given to processed foods or beverages derived from cocoa (Theobroma cacao). Since ancient times, people in ancient America consumed chocolate as a beverage. At that time, chocolate was valuable goods. Chocolate was often used as a means to trade in lieu of money. Chocolate was also often used in religious ceremonies. The word of chocolate comes from Aztec language “xocoatl” which means bitter drink.
Chocolate plants is also called cocoa (Theobroma cacao). It is estimated, chocolate plants grown in the northern Amazon region, and then outspread to Central America and Chiapas, in southern Mexico. The first relics of chocolate was found in a chocolate processing site in Puerto Escondido, Honduras around 1400 – 1100 years BC.
Cocoa beans contain alkanoid. That’s why chocolate has a bitter taste. Cocoa beans also contain protein as much as 9 percent, 14 percent of carbohydrates, and fat by 31 percent. In addition, cocoa bean is also contain phenylalanine, tyrosine and tryptophan amino acid in large quantities. Because the content is very much, the health benefits of chocolate is also very much.
In this time, we recognize various processed products of cocoa. Ranging from food to beverages. For example, chocolate bread, chocolate cake, chocolate pudding, chocolate candies and chocolate bars. While beverages derived from chocolate are hot chocolate, chocolate ice cream, and other beverages with chocolate taste. In addition to processed as food and drink, chocolate can also be used as garnishes.
In this modern era, chocolate is often used as gifts at the holidays. Because of its uniqueness, chocolate is often used as a sign of gratitude, sympathy, concern and even love.
The health benefits of chocolate
The health benefits of chocolate is very much, such as:
Chocolate contains a lot of antioxidants
Chocolate contains flavanols, a type of flavonoids are found only in chocolate. Flavonoid is a compound created naturally in plant foods and act as antioxidant to ward off free radicals in the body.
Lowering blood pressure and cholesterol
Dark chocolate is proved beneficial in reducing blood pressure. Regular consumption of dark chocolate can lower LDL cholesterol by 10 percent.
Helps to relieve stress
Chocolate is food that can relieve stress. Research in University of California, Sandiego, reported that people who experience stress admitted that they eat chocolate when they’re in a bad mood. This is because chocolate contains psychoactive compound makes chocolate eaters feel more comfortable.
For women, chocolate is good if consumed before menstruation. The content of magnesium in chocolate are believed to reduce the syndrome associated with menstruation, such as cramps. Substances contained in chocolate such as caffeine, theobromine, methyl-xanthine and phenylethylalanine are believed to improve mood, reduce fatigue, so it can be used as an anti-depressant.
Helps to fight cancer
Several studies have found that chocolate is one of anti-cancer foods, like red wine, blueberries, garlic, and tea. Chocolate is rich in antioxidants, effective to counteract free radicals, the cause of cancer. Eating chocolate regularly may prevent colon cancer by destroying cancerous lesions forming cells, or prevent change of normal cells into abnormal.
Increase sexual desire (libido)
Chocolate is an aphrodisiac food, beneficial to increase libido. According to a study, women who eat chocolate have a higher sex drive than women who do not consume chocolate. They said, eating a piece of chocolate before sex can give you a sense of relaxation and satisfaction in sexual activity.
Preventing tooth decay
This is different from the public perception. Researchers concluded that theobromine in chocolate is useful to prevent tooth decay. That is by eliminating streptococcus mutans, a bacteria found in the oral cavity, which can damage teeth. Chocolate is good for teeth because it contains substances that kill bacteria that cause cavities.
Create longevity and avoid illness
Chocolate contains useful substances to slow down premature aging (as an anti-aging). Consumption of chocolate regularly can reduce wrinkles and protect skin from sunlight.
The health benefits of chocolate – A study conducted in the Netherlands on 200 men aged over 20 years found that those who consume large amounts of chocolate, they live longer with lower disease risks, compared to men who ate chocolate in small amounts or not at all.
Jeanne Louise Calment, who lived to 122 years, has a simple recipe for longevity. He consumes dark chocolate as much as 2.5 pounds a week.