Science » Technologies and discoveries

Chocotherapy

“Chocolate—food of Gods!” such statement of our ancestors still holds true today.

It is very nutritious, tasty, gives you energy and rids you of fatigue. There are many stories and legends pertaining to the actual origin of chocolate.

Traditionally, it is believed that Maya Indians who lived on the banks of the Gulf of Mexico were the first ones to indulge the taste of chocolate. They even worshipped their special God: the God of cocoa. Only the “chosen” people were allowed to consume sacred drink. Chiefs used to drink something called “chocoatl” (“choco”—“bitter” and “atl”—“water” added to the cocoa) from golden cups. Aztec emperor Montezuma, for instance, adored the chocolate drink and used to consume up to 50 cups a day…  

At the time, coco beans were considered real currency that grew on trees. The beans (called “kakaksolata”) were often attributed various healing and at times even mystical qualities. Fruits of the chocolate tree are exceptionally bitter. Many years have passed before people mastered the skill of making chocolate.

First Europeans encountered the sacred drink in XVI century when the great traveler Christopher Columbus had received a cup of cocoa from Incas as a gift. However, Columbus was unable to evaluate the powder’s true value and simply refused the gift. Columbus’ brother-in-arms Hernan Cortez in turn can be considered the major popularizer of chocolate. He was the one to follow Incas’ recipes in preparing the drink.

In XVIII century, chocolate was believed to cure fever, gastric catarrh and even prolong life.

1765-First chocolate industrial production in the USA

1831-English company “Cadbury” (founded in 1824) starts chocolate production

1875-Swissman Daniel Peter invents milk chocolate

1879-Rudolphe Lindt creates an ideal recipe for chocolate fudge

1894-Hershey company is founded

1920-Mars chocolate candy bar is created

1991- Chocolate Society is founded in England

1996-Researchers hypothesize that chocolate contains a substance that has the same effect on a human body as marijuana.

Chocolate candies and other confectionaries are capable of making a person develop “drug” dependency, similar to the one that can evolve from cocaine or heroine consumption.

1998-Scientists make sensational discovery: chocolate extends life!

February 2000—Mars Company assures that chocolate is incredibly healthy. Scientists discovered certain biologically active substances, which are capable of expanding arteries, thus increasing blood flow to the heart muscle. Due to this effect, such substances protect a person from developing thrombosis, the most common cause of heart attacks.

August 2000—It is discovered that cocoa beans are good to fight cavities.

2001-Scientists find a particular “sweet tooth” gene.

Chocolate (in moderate quantities) can help a person to cheer up. At the same time, it helps digest nickel. Nickel in turn is exceptionally important for hormone production.

Bitter chocolate is healthier than sweet milk chocolate. Darker kinds contain less fat but more minerals and microelements, which are essential for ensuring normal metabolism. According to a recent research work conducted in Germany in 2003, dark chocolate is capable of lowering blood pressure.

British scientists discovered that chocolate, cola and coffee can in fact serve as the basis for new drugs to cure cancer. London University staff claim that the elements influence one of the ferments which is responsible for cells’ vital functions.    

Another study suggests that chocolate consumption during pregnancy can help future mothers to fight depression; it also benefits the baby. Apparently, chocolate makes a baby more cheerful and stress-resistant after birth. Such were the results of a study conducted by scientists from the University of Helsinki. More than 300 women participated in the study.

Despite all the benefits of chocolate, one should always remember that everything is good in moderation. Chocolate in large quantities can cause nothing but harm. In case you do crave chocolate, better take a piece of dark sort, since it contains less fat than milk chocolate.

Alexandra Zagladina

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