You love your chocolate, don’t you? But do you know where every chocolate product comes from? The cacao tree. Yes, that’s the source which, after an entire complex process, becomes your favorite chocolate product. Cacao trees are generally native to the South American continent as well as parts of Central America. Cocoa beans are obtained by drying and fermenting the seed of the cacao tree. Cocoa butter and cocoa powder are derived from these cocoa beans which is actuall the principal constituent of chocolate.
How Are Chocolates Produced?
Cocoa powder, along with other solids that are filtered out after the removal of cocoa butter, is very bitter in taste. In order to better the flavor, a heavy processing of cocoa is carried out. Cocoa, in its natural form, comprise flavonoids which are actually antioxidants and highly beneficial for health. But, the fact of the matter is, the more cocoa is processed, the more flavonoids get destroyed. Not many know that the chocolate you often buy from the market underwent high processing.
Chocolates are produced by amalgamating cocoa butter and cocoa powder with sweetening agents and other components. The fat present in chocolate is mostly due to the presence of cocoa butter. Various kinds of chocolate have varying levels of cocoa powder. Dark chocolate contains the highest cocoa powder levels, and the concentration is the lowest in white chocolate. Chocolate comprises various other components such as nuts, milk powder, and sugar. Here’s why you can’t say ‘no’ to chocolate:
Addiction To Sugar
Sure, cocoa tastes bitter. To enhance a chocolate’s taste, a significant amount of sugar is added by the processors. Sugar is actually a carbohydrate that is easily absorbed by the body. Some people are of the opinion that this fast ‘sugar high’ elevates the mood temporarily. As per many researches, it’s the sugar and fat combo that makes people get addicted to certain food items. To reduce the addiction, women shouldn’t exceed sugar consumption to over 25 grams a day, and men shouldn’t go beyond 36 grams. You can reduce your sugar consumption by having chocolate with a higher percentage of cacao.
You Feel Hungry
More often than not, your hunger is the prime reason why you crave for a chocolate bar. When your body feels the hunger, fast carbohydrates such as refined sugars are what it craves for. But, processed chocolates reach high levels on the glycemic index which implies that you get a fast sugar rush temporarily. But once you get over that rush, you feel starved again. The best way to satiate your craving is to fill up your stomach with something else. Once your hunger subsides, your craving for chocolate subsides as well. Go for something that has higher protein and less sugar.
To Boost Your Caffeine Intake
Chocolate contains a bit of caffeine. As cacao undergoes processing, the caffeine content decreases. Chocolate candy bars that are highly processed have less than 10mg of caffeine. Coffee, in comparison, contains approximately 85 to 200 mg of caffeine. A few dark chocolates can, however, possess more caffeine than a can of soda. With an increase in cacao content, caffeine content increases, too. To avoid it, you can opt for black tea which is laden with powerful antioxidants.
Magnesium Is What Your Body Needs
Chocolates are indeed high in magnesium. Scientists have often pondered on the question whether magnesium shortage could lead to chocolate cravings. This is somewhat unlikely as other kinds of food that are available contain much higher levels of magnesium including nuts. But, people hardly crave for them. In order to put this craving away, you can definitely go for magnesium supplements available at a pharmacy near you. Try black beans, raw almonds, or whole grains. Those would suffice your craving, too.
Though it seems like chocolate is a bad idea, its primary ingredient, cacao, does have several health benefits. It improves memory, diminishes the risks of any cardiovascular disease, reduces inflammation, boosts the immune system, lifts your mood, and reduces stress and the risk of diabetes. But, it’s a known fact that everything in excess is indeed harmful. A limited consumption of chocolate can do a world of good to your health. But, in case you give in to your chocolate cravings time and again, go over the list of harmful effects discussed above. So, instead of gorging on a chocolate bar every time you feel hungry, go for other options that can satiate your cravings to optimum levels while also providing nutrients. Of course, nurturing your taste buds with chocolate sometimes is one heavenly pleasure you can’t miss out on.