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Chocolate Health Benefits


Chocolate and Health Benefits
Part of the pleasure of eating chocolate is due to the fact that its melting point is slightly below human body temperature therefore it melts in the mouth. Which in turn releases chemicals in the brain closely linked to the association with the feeling of love which again makes us feel good.

In the fifteenth century chocolate was prescribed as a medicine to boost the weakened body, and by the late sixteenth century Parisians were using chocolate to treat an astonishing range of maladies, including indigestion, nervous conditions and venereal disease! The use of chocolate for medicinal purposes stretches back to the fourth century, when it was used as a wound dressing. Allegedly Emperor Montezuma always drank a full goblet of chocolate prior to entering his harem, triggering the myth that chocolate is an aphrodisiac. The 17th century diarist, Samuel Pepys, was a firm believer in the energising properties of chocolate, and took it to relieve hangovers, while Napoleon carried it with him in battle, eating it when he needed an energy boost. Both Fry’s of Bristol and Terry’s of York were founded by apothecaries.

The 20th and 21st centuries have seen continued debate about the well-being and health benefits of chocolate, including:-

Eating chocolate can help you live longer
It contains powerful antioxidant phenols, which can lower the risk of heart disease.
Eating chocolate can help lower blood pressure.
It contains flavonols, which help prevent oxidation of the blood cells
The cocoa butter used to make it is broken down by the liver and behaves in the body like a mono-unsaturated fat (such as olive oil)

Chocolate has aphrodisiac properties - the Aztecs forbade women to eat it for this very reason.
This legend still persists today, with ongoing speculation that chocolate reproduces the feelings of being in love, possibly through the presence of the stimulant PEA (phenyl ethylamine), which boosts energy levels and increases serotonin in the brain, triggering sensations of pleasure.

The more widely acknowledged belief is that chocolate makes people feel good because of the sensual pleasure it delivers - which explains much more succinctly our enduring love for this wonderful substance.

Chocolate stirs up the emotions like no other food. Since it’s discovery, we have used it to express our feelings, soothe our bodies and minds and celebrate a wide array of social occasions.

Chocolate is a calorie-rich food with a high fat content, so daily intake of chocolate also requires reducing caloric intake of other foods. Mars, Incorporated, a Virginia-based candy company, spends millions of dollars each year on flavonol research. The company is talking with pharmaceutical companies to license drugs based on synthesized cocoa flavonol molecules. According to Mars-funded researchers at Harvard, the University of California, and European universities, cocoa-based prescription drugs could potentially help treat diabetes, dementia and other diseases.

Research indicates that chocolate may be effective at preventing persistent coughing. The ingredient theobromine was found to be almost one third more effective than codeine, the leading cough medicine.[22] The chocolate also appears to soothe and moisten the throat.

There is a popular belief that the consumption of chocolate can cause acne. Pure chocolate contains anti-oxidants which aid better skin complexion. The University of Pennsylvania and the US Naval Academy conducted experiments that fed subjects chocolate or a bar with similar amounts of macronutrients (fat, sugar etc.) and found that consumption of chocolate, frequent or not, had no effect on the developing of acne. Chocolate bars with milk content may contribute to acne. It is not the chocolate itself that causes acne, but rather the milk with which the chocolate is mixed.

Toxicity in animals
In sufficient amounts, the theobromine found in chocolate is toxic to animals such as horses, dogs, parrots, small rodents, and cats (kittens especially) because they are unable to metabolise the chemical effectively. If they are fed chocolate, the theobromine will remain in their bloodstream for up to 20 hours, and these animals may experience epileptic seizures, heart attacks, internal bleeding, and eventually death. Medical treatment involves inducing vomiting within two hours of ingestion, or contacting a veterinarian.

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