Most of us were brought up to think so…it was bad for our teeth our health and our diet.

Chocolate - the Health Food
But recent research shows that chocolate provides a natural form of health-promoting substances called flavonoids, these help prevent heart disease and cancer.

Chocolate contains antioxidants and this fact alone has generated a lot of interest as studies show that these compounds are more powerful antioxidants than EGCG in tea, which is a strong antioxidant. Up until recently we were never made aware of the amazing health benefits of this incredible little bean, not to mention the fascinating allure and irresistible flavour of chocolate.

Chocolate has been a source of nourishment for many decades and it has only in recent years – much to the delight of the entire world – been declared that this truly decadent substance is actually good for us! But more of the healthy stuff in a later post…

Cacoa Beans It is believed that Christopher Columbus first brought cacoa beans to Europe sometime between 1502 and 1504 on his fourth visit to the “New World”. Columbus discovered the cacoa bean when he robbed the cargo of a Mayan trader somewhere near modern Honduras. He didn’t actually know what the beans were and thought they were a kind of almond. He was aware however, that someone else thought they might be valuable, so he took them not realizing at the time what magnificent jewel had fallen into his lap!

The Cacoa is an evergreen tree plant cultivated over 3,000 years ago by the Aztec Maya and Tilted civilizations of Mexico. The seed or beans were used to prepare a beverage called “chocolatl” which we now know as hot chocolate and was originally consumed by Aztec royalty and described as the “food of gods”. Now the beans are used to produce the chocolate and cocoa we eat and drink today. Chocolatl was made by mixing with water, cornmeal, chili peppers and other ingredients, but it never contained sugar as this was unknown to the Aztec people. The pot of chocolatl was stirred with a “molinillo” (a stick with shaped paddles) to make it frothy.

As you can see the original concoction bears very little resemblance to the increasingly popular drink we now know as “hot chocolate”. Most “chocoholics” or experts use the word “cacoa” when they refer to the plant or beans while the word “chocolate” relates to anything made from the beans and “cocoa” is usually the name for chocolate in a powdered form. The history of the cacoa bean continues to uncover more health benefits as more research recognizes just how wonderful this delicious food is to our health.

Must go off to get my daily fix……