Chocolate! What’s one good thing about this ancient delicacy that still makes everyone drool in the modern era as well? Its history can be traced back to 1750 BC; even though no European had ever heard of it until the 16th century. However, because of its radically increasing popularity every day, an annual observance is seen globally every year. The International Chocolate Day, which is celebrated on 7th July, includes the consumption of chocolate as a ritual. Some references indicate that this day celebrates the introduction of chocolate in Europe (as seen in 1550). Moreover, the chocolate alone has also been a subject for numerous movies and novels. Just to name one, who doesn’t remember Charlie and the Chocolate Factory?
Is Chocolate a Remedy for your illnesses?
Chocolates make the best of the recipes served in different nooks and crannies all around the world. Even those extremely healthy ones, as surveys from numerous universities unanimously suggest. From effects on cognitive performance to reduced risk of diabetes and heart disease (from a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition), chocolates work you through it all. The reason behind which could be the amount of caffeine, which is almost equal to that in coffee. The reason why both are served at times to trigger our energy levels.
Studies suggest that including a balanced amount of chocolates in our routine life helps to prevent Type 2 Diabetes and insulin resistance, among other illnesses. Moreover, apart from the major risks that a piece of chocolate could rescue us from, it has also been known to help soothe sore throats and coughs (just like ginger and honey). Because cocoa, the chief ingredient from which chocolate is made, contains a chemical called Theobromine that can help the body fight off the symptoms of common cold. Researchers, in one of the studies, have found the chocolate chemical to be more effective than Codeine when treating a chronic cough. Also, chocolates are widely known to be emotional balance-makers (positive mood triggers), which keep you away from mood swings and unusual stress. On the other hand, they contain small amounts of the amino acid Tryptophan, which in a wider sense makes us happy … just happy!
Chocolate consumption can be dangerous for you…?
There is, however, always this custom of pros and cons; and as it goes for us, chocolate consumption on a regular basis with no record of increased activity levels could lead to weight gain. And the healing saint, Theobromine, which helps us against cold, could also lead to heartburn. Theobromine, in high amounts, is also known to cater to death of dogs. A few studies have reported allergic reactions from chocolate in children as well.
Raw chocolate, in particular, is known to be high in cocoa butter. The cocoa butter is a fat which is removed during chocolate refining and then added back in varying proportions during the manufacturing process. As for the fats though, scientists have found a way to replace up to 50 percent of its fat content with fruit juice. And cocoa butter’s physical properties, on a ‘butter’ note, are extensively used by pharmaceutical companies. As a non-toxic solid at room temperature that melts at body temperature, it is considered an ideal base for medicinal suppositories. It also prevents rancidity (food which is unsafe for consumption) and has lately become a popular ingredient in products for the skin, such as soaps and lotions.
So, the choices that now fall in our satchels to make are either to keep from eating chocolates for no reason but fear, or to eat it often, but only not recklessly. You can eat it all if you want. Just make sure you keep a track of ‘how much’ and burn those calories accordingly.
Jayant Kashyap is a Pushcart Prize nominated poet, with poems appearing in numerous magazine all over the world, and somewhat of a foodie (so, a food blogger). His debut poetry chapbook, Survival, comes earlier in 2019 from NY-based Clare Songbirds Publishing House. He is also the co-founder and editor of literary magazine Bold + Italic.