If you remember your history lessons, you know that Montezuma introduced Cortes to chocolate. A beverage made from cacao beans was, supposedly, the only thing the emperor ever drank. Cortez brought it back to Europe, and it caught on. By 1600, the first chocolate shop was opened.
Prior to Cortez, beverages made from cacao were used as far back as 1500 b.c. As mentioned in the description, various tribes used the beans as currency, that’s how valuable it was. Only the upper echelon of these tribes actually consumed the beans. They were the only ones who could afford it.
There are some myths about chocolate. One is that it can cause acne. Fear not, girls, what you eat usually has no affect on pimple formation. There is a debate about whether or not the theobromine in the bean can help with depression, particularly that involving your menstrual cycle.
There is a down side to chocolate. Many pets can’t handle the theobromine content. They can be sick and even die from chocolate poisoning. If you have a pet, make sure to keep the chocolate where it can’t access it, and never use it as a treat.
There are some real health benefits from chocolate. It has a lot of antioxidants, especially the dark variety. Eating an ounce or so a day could help improve your health in that department. (I think I could manage to remember that — )
Recent studies suggest that chocolate is good for your heart. It may act as a blood thinner as well as reducing blood pressure. A study was conducted among the Kuna tribe that lives off the coast of Panama. They consume a lot of sodium, yet their blood pressure rates are excellent. These people consume five to six cups of a chocolate based beverage on a daily basis, and a link has been established between the two.
If you are dealing with hardening of the arteries, chocolate may help. It seems to relax them and even help to prevent plaque buildup. This benefit was studied over a fifteen year period on elderly men. A significant number of them did not develop cardiovascular disease during the time of the study.
Coco butter, the fat inside the bean, is often used in lotions. This is especially good for stretch marks, either as prevention or as a means to help after they are formed. It also feels good on cracked, chapped hands and feet.
Chocolate is one of God’s greatest gifts to us. It tastes good and it’s good for us. That’s a relatively rare combination.