Let’s sing the praises of chocolate! Dark, creamy, sweet and bitter – a little chocolate makes everything better. As far as “treats” go, you could do far worse.
Chocolate in the many forms we know and love is derived from the pods of the cacao tree. Ripe pods boast 20 to 50 beans each, which are then fermented to reduce bitterness. After cleaning and roasting, the shells are cracked to reveal the “nibs” found within. These are usually ground into an oily paste and blended according to manufacturer’s needs.
The potential health benefits of chocolate are many. Most importantly, cacao is a great source of magnesium. That’s one of the reasons some women crave chocolate during menstruation, when they’re low in that mineral. Magnesium balances brain chemistry, builds strong bones, and is associated with feelings of happiness. Cacao is also high in sulfur, which helps form strong nail and hair and clear skin. It also detoxifies the liver and supports healthy pancreatic function. Perhaps best of all, cacao also contains the chemicals phenylethylamine (PEA) and anandamide. PEA is an adrenal-related chemical that we create naturally when we’re in love. It also plays a role in feeling focused and alert. Anandamide is also known as the “bliss” chemical, because we release it when we feel great. Chocolate really does make us happy! Continue reading “Chocolate is Healthy Too!”