Everybody loves chocolate, even those who are not allowed to eat it. In birthday celebrations, holidays, and even as a romantic gift, chocolate never fails to put a smile on someone’s face. But why is chocolate so popular?
Chocolate comes from Theobroma cacao seeds, which undergoes several processes to come up with the sweet chocolate everyone knows and loves. Ironically, the actual cacao seeds have a very bitter taste. In fact, ancient Aztecs referred to their chocolate drink as xocolātl, which literally meant ‘bitter water.’
Fortunately as time went by, civilisations have learned how to take away the bitter taste. From Central and South America, chocolate was exported to Europe where people added sugar or honey to counteract the bitterness. As chocolate gained popularity, its processing brought in labourers from abroad who specialise in making it.
The seeds first undergo fermentation, and then get dried, cleaned and roasted. Afterwards, the shell is taken out to
produce cacao nibs, the part that gets ground to pure cocoa mass. This mass is then heated to form what is called chocolate liquor, which in turn gets formed either into cocoa solids or cocoa butter.
One of the substances in chocolate that makes it so lovable is caffeine. Caffeine is also found in another popular seed, coffee, and is a known stimulant. This means that similar to coffee, chocolate is also a stimulant that helps promote brain activity and function. In addition, chocolate is also known as mild anti-depressant, which means it helps people temporarily forget problems.
But while chocolate intake is very popular worldwide, especially among women, it should also be limited because of its tendencies to become addicting. Studies show that a craving for chocolate cannot be satisfied by any other sweet candy or treat. This is one reason some individuals cannot function well without eating chocolate.
What is Vegan Chocolate?
While chocolate mostly comes from the cacao seeds mentioned earlier, some manufacturers do not use 100% all natural ingredients in its production. In such cases, intake of such ingredients may lead to other side effects aside from the caffeine-related symptoms chocolate usually has.
Fortunately, there are manufacturers that produce the best organic chocolate, which means they only use natural ingredients and substances in all stages of production. Nowadays, most people are familiar with milk chocolate because it is among the sweetest treats around. However, these products contain only less than 30 percent of actual chocolate derived from cocoa beans.
Dark chocolate on the other hand, should adhere to the legal standard, which is at least 35 percent cocoa mass. Rarely in the market do you see a manufacturer selling a chocolate with cocoa mass beyond 40. Aside from the fact that it is bitter, no one would probably purchase it.
So what’s the problem here? The problem with commercial and popular chocolate is that they contain fewer phenols, a group of antioxidants that naturally comes with cocoa beans. As a result, the chocolate product becomes just an ordinary sweet candy or treat without the benefits that it naturally has.
However, organic raw chocolate is now available in some markets, and should be among the best choices for sweets in general. If you are interested in knowing more about this organic product, here are five facts that you probably did not know about vegan chocolate:
1. Organic chocolates are produced without harming natural ecosystems. Chocolates are derived from cacao beans, and cacao beans come from cacao trees. These trees usually grow in tropical climates where they thrive within ecosystems. If the ecosystem where a tree is located is healthy, then it would grow into a healthy tree as well. On the other hand, if the ecosystem is destroyed or damaged by manufacturers or producers, it would not yield cacao beans that are naturally healthy.
2. The cacao tree where it is derived is not sprayed with pesticides and other chemical fertilisers. This is exactly what organic means – no chemicals were used in growing the cacao trees. Very few people would know that chocolates from top manufacturers are sprayed with pesticides so much, that they are second to cotton in pesticide use.
3. The way it is sweetened is also all natural and organic. Most people are not aware of this but inorganic chocolates are sweetened using corn syrup. The shocking thing about it is that corn syrup comes from a GMO (genetically modified organism), and that it does not have any nutrients whatsoever. In contrary, healthy chocolate is sweetened by other natural means. The most common natural and healthy sweeteners include malt syrup, brown rice syrup, raisins, dates, and evaporated cane syrup.
4. Natural cacao beans do not need preservatives. On its own, cacao beans have natural preservatives. Even after the initial process, cocoa butter still contains preservatives. In fact, this allows cocoa butter to serve as the preservative in commercial forms of chocolate. In addition, chocolate, which is saturated fat, are naturally less prone to degradation compared to unsaturated fat.
5. Even the scent of chocolate has an effect on humans. Yes, you read that right. Even chocolate scent can have a positive effect on an individual. Just like smelling flowers, it is also a natural action by a person to smell the chocolate first before taking a bite. So what does it do? Whenever a person smells chocolate, the number of theta waves increases in his brain, resulting in a feeling of relaxation.
These are just five fun facts you probably did not know about chocolate. Thankfully, the Internet offers a wide range of information about the treat everyone loves. It is just amazing to think that more than 90 percent of all chocolate products come from private and small cacao plantations across the world.
Aside from being a treat, dessert, and snack, is there something more about chocolate? You’d be surprised that it provides health benefits as well.
Enjoying Organic Chocolate Milk Benefits
Chocolate has a number of remarkable benefits to the body. If you think its only contribution to your body is increasing your risk of diabetes, you are mistaken. If you take chocolate from the right manufacturers, and if it contains the right ingredients, it definitely has a number of key health benefits:
• It uplifts your mood. The stimulants caffeine and theobromine can alter the mood of a person, usually from lonely to happy. In addition, chocolate also contains phenylethylamine, which is the chemical produced by the brain whenever a person feels happy, or in love. No wonder, chocolates are often given to sweethearts during Valentine’s Day. In addition, the carbohydrates in chocolate may also increase neurotransmitter activity and serotonin levels in the brain – which makes people feel good.
• It is beneficial for the heart. Cocoa beans and even processed chocolate contain flavonoids that are good for the heart. Other more popular sources of flavonoids are vegetables, fruits, tea and red wine. Chocolate also has Vitamin B1 which is important for the body in breaking down fat and protein from the food a person eats. Chocolate also contains magnesium that helps in the metabolism of food, synthesis of proteins and fatty acids, and the transmission of nerve impulses.
• It contains antioxidants that help the body fight free radicals. Aside from stimulants and flavonoids, chocolate is also rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants reduce oxidation in a cellular level, and take out free radicals that damage healthy cells. Dark chocolate is a better choice if you want to take in more antioxidants. In fact, dark chocolate reportedly has twice the amount of antioxidants compared to milk chocolate.
Enjoying your own bar of chocolate has never been this good, especially now that you know it actually does something good to your body.
Where can I Find Organic Chocolates?
In recent years, more people are becoming conscious about the food they eat. They often pick organic products that are grown, processed and packaged without using any artificial or chemical ingredients.
In the same way, chocolate lovers are also becoming pickier when looking for a trusted brand. Thankfully, there is a reputable manufacturer that produces 100 percent organic milk chocolate with hazelnuts.
Organic Times Milk Chocolate Hazelnuts is becoming popular because of its chocolate contents. It boasts a whopping 67 percent of organic chocolate composition, and 33 percent organic hazelnuts. So considering the two main ingredients are all natural, it is safe to say that Organic Times’ product is a 100 percent organic product.
If you are interested in a chocolate snack that would put your mind at ease, then remember to look for a decent and trusted online seller. One online store that you can trust is Love Thyself. This store promotes all organic products and items for its consumers.
Statistics show that every year, hundreds of millions of dollars of chocolate are purchased. Unfortunately, most of these chocolate products contain artificial flavors, which could harm the body. But thanks to some chocolate makers, we can now enjoy vegan and cruelty-free chocolate treats. Get one today and distinguish the difference.