As prevalent as chocolate is today, it’s interesting to think about the fact that the decadent treat was completely unknown in Western culture as recently as a few hundred years ago. It wasn’t until the colonial explorations of Columbus and others that Europeans first discovered chocolate. Here’s how chocolate has transformed over time.
Chocolate as a Beverage
Before then, chocolate was a key part of Mayan and Aztec cultures in Central America. Back then, chocolate was enjoyed primarily as a rich beverage. The ancients believed in the healing powers of chocolate. Overall, the ancients thought chocolate had an invigorating impact on the body and mind. Chocolate has transformed since then.
Chocolate for Dessert
As chocolate traveled westward to Europe, it enjoyed a similar dual role of food and medicine. Europeans refined the idea of chocolate and gradually began to incorporate it into candies, cakes and other treats. Medically, the Europeans believed chocolate had therapeutic abilities for problems such as stomach pains, breast issues, and the common cold.
Of course, today chocolate is more prevalent than ever before, readily available in every gas station, grocery store and everywhere in between. Medically speaking, chocolate also retains a surprising number of powers, some that have been discovered only recently.
Chocolate as a Health Food
What spurred chocolate’s resurgence as a “health” food is the discovery of its vast variety of antioxidants such as flavonoids, catechins and polyphenols. Put them all together, and it turns out that chocolate might be the richest source of antioxidants of all foods.
Healing Benefits of Chocolate
Antioxidants, of course, prevent inflammation, and thus disease, throughout the body. Studies have shown that moderate amounts of dark chocolate can help improve blood flow and prevent heart problems, for example. For the skin, chocolate can fend off wrinkles and make the skin look radiant as you age, making it a vital ingredient in modern skincare products.
Interested in trying out some chocolate based skincare products for yourself? Click here!
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