Understanding the Cacao Bean
Chocolate is the undeniable world favorite for all things sweet. Chocolate has several benefits in Ayurveda including but not limited to boosting heart health, helping in arousal and quickening weight loss. You can read more about the weight loss benefits of chocolate here.
But where did chocolate come from?
A Brief History of Chocolate
So where does the finished, beautifully delicious chocolate bar come from? It is often interpreted that chocolate comes from simple milk and sugar and added extras. But the reality is that chocolate, especially the really good kind, comes from a small bean. The cacao beans to be exact.
The Aztecs believed that the cacao beans were a gift from the god of wisdom. It was so valued it was even used as a form of currency. When it consumed it was had as a drink mixed with corn and spices and had a bitter taste. The Europeans added sugar to the drink more akin to the taste we all know and love.
After the Spanish vanquished the Aztecs, they brought cacao beans to Spain. Here, it was still consumed as a beverage but honey and sugar were added to mitigate the bitterness. Then its popularity quickly grew across Europe. Therein the cacao bean expanded, and the Dutch Cocoa Press became instrumental in making the first ever chocolate bars, with the addition of alkaline salts to make chocolate a little bit sweeter and more consistent as well.
Cacao or Cocoa?
Now it is important to understand the difference between cacao and cocoa beans. The later is the roasted kind, where studies show when the cacao beans are roasted and become cocoa they can lose some of their nutritional value.
Apart from those mentioned above, here are a few additional benefits of chocolate:
- Lowers your insulin resistance
- Lowers your chances of stroke
- Lowers blood pressure
- Protects nervous system functions
- Lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease
- Also, eating chocolate can make you feel great
Remember though all things in moderation, chowing down on too much chocolate can add to your waistline. We have a few great options in our store.