According to medieval manuscripts, cocoa beans have many health benefits. Chocolate used to be used to treat mental retardation, tuberculosis and exhaustion, but today it is just one of many goodies. Why did this happen?
The Aztec emperor Montezuma II said that on one cup of cocoa, his soldiers could tirelessly walk in the mountains all day long. We can only speculate about the taste of this miraculous elixir, significantly different from what we used to call hot chocolate. The Aztecs filled the bitter drink with fatty foam with chili peppers and even human blood.
Flavored with sugar and milk powder, modern chocolate has little in common with its “ancestor”. This confectionery product of the industrial revolution was created for pleasure. The tonic and other useful properties of cocoa have not disappeared, but have somehow quietly disappeared into the background. They are almost forgotten and have been talked about again only in the last decades. One of the turning points that sparked the discussion was the publication in 1997 of a study by Harvard scientists on the Kuhn Indians. Swearing by islands off the coast of Panama, Kuna is characterized by longer life expectancy from the mainland, low blood pressure and a low prevalence of heart disease, stroke and diabetes in its surroundings. The reason for the good health of the islanders, the researchers called cocoa, which the Indians drink five cups a day.
Since the publication, other researches of scientists have appeared, which confirm the positive influence of chocolate on the condition of blood vessels, the level of “good” cholesterol and blood pressure. Scientists attribute the above effects to the presence in cocoa of a powerful antioxidant from the group of flavonoids – epicatechin. The problem with chocolate bought in the retail network is that it contains very little of this active substance, but the content of sugar and fat is much higher than the recommendations of nutritionists. Chocolate that is available to modern consumers cannot be called a healthy product. For that reason, as researchers from the University of Coventry have discovered, research into the health benefits of chocolate is usually done with specially designed sweets that have little to do with products from shelf shelves. The concentration of epicatechin in “special sweets” is higher than in ordinary chocolate. In addition, many studies are funded by owners of well-known chocolate brands who are interested in certain results.
Kuna Indians, unlike most chocolate lovers, make their drink from natural fruit. The example of the island has led to a tendency to consume cold-pressed cocoa beans. The sellers of this product say that they are more likely to preserve its natural properties. That may be true, but in Coventry, having run off the mountain of literature, they did not find any study that would confirm the expectations of consumers. The owners of the brand are only interested in chocolate.
Thus, commercial chocolate is one of the processed confectionery products. It is quite possible to eat, even to a certain extent it is useful, but you should not use it to improve your health. It’s really tasty.