Since dawn of time, more like 5300 years ago, chocolate played political, economical and spiritual role across ancient Mesoamerican civilizations. It was believed chocolate had medicinal and mystical properties, and "was a gift from god" by Mayans. It was widely used in ceremonies, and as a currency. When chocolate made its way to Europe1500s it was enjoyed by aristocrats and was considered to be a symbol of luxury, wealth and power. To quench their thirst for chocolate aristocrats colonized plantations of cacao and sugar in equatorial regions and used local and enslaved Africans to maintain the plantation.
In 1828 cacao press was invented that separated fatty butter from roasted cacao and led to more affordable production and use of cacao. Since then chocolate making became huge business with over $100 billion sales annually worldwide.
Lots have change in 5000 years but chocolates health benefits still remain true and now backed up by numerous scientific researches.
A professor of medicine at Harvard Norman Hollenberg has spent years studying the Kuna people of Panama who consume up to 40 cups of cocoa a week found that The Kuna have less than a 10% risk of stroke, heart failure, cancer and diabetes, which are the most wildly common diseases in the Western world. Kuna elders also have very low rates of high blood pressure, a feature attributed to their high cocoa consumption.
Human trial data by Loma Linda University data reveals chocolate helps improve stress levels, inflammation, mood, memory and immune function.
A number of other studies have confirmed cacao can benefit your heart, blood vessels, brain and nervous system, and helps combat diabetes and other conditions rooted in inflammation.
Cocoa also contains chemical compounds shown to boost mood. One study,
published in 2013, found the polyphenols in cocoa helped reduce anxiety and induce a sense of calm when consumed daily for one month. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0269881112473791
That all sounds awesome!
BUT! It's not all chocolate that has those benefits. Next time you crave some indulgent chocolate, reach for the kind that loves you back! Choose chocolate that is more than 70% cacao content, made with organic sugar (even better with low glycemic sugar like coconut or date), and undergoes minimal processing.
Here at Rawfully Delish we use raw cacao which contains a surplus of phytochemicals and minerals, including protein, calcium, carotene, thiamin, riboflavin, magnesium and sulfur. These properties can be destroyed by high heat, so it's important to know what type of processes your cacoa and chocolate have undergone. We use stone-ground method making our delish raw chocolate.
And as always, enjoy everything in moderation!