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    Chocolate for Health Benefits

    The word chocolate comes from xocoatl (Aztec language) which means bitter drink. Aztecs and Mayans in Mexico believe that the God of Agriculture has sent chocolate from heaven to them.

    Cortes then brought it to Spain between 1502-1528, and by the Spaniards the sugar drink was mixed with sugar so that it tasted better. Chocolate then spread to France, the Netherlands and England.

    In 1765 a chocolate factory was established in Massachusetts, United States. In its development, chocolate is not only a beverage but also a chocolate cake and chocolate pudding & chocolate gifts that are loved by children, adolescents, and adults.

    In addition to its delicious taste, chocolate products have the effect of making a person's life longer. An epidemiological study was carried out at Harvard University students enrolled between 916-1950.

    By using a food frequency questionnaire information was collected about the habits of sweets or chocolate souvenirs at Harvard University students.

    By controlling the physical activity undertaking, smoking habits, and eating habits found that those who like to eat chocolate / various chocolate longer than one year of eating.

    It is suspected that the phenol antioxidants contained in chocolate are the reason why they can live longer. Phenol is also commonly found in red wine which is very well known as a drink that is good for heart health.

    Chocolate has the ability to inhibit the oxidation of LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and improve the immune function, so as to prevent the risk of coronary heart disease and cancer.

    So far, there is a view that chocolate candy causes caries in teeth and may also be responsible for the emergence of obesity problems. It is undeniable that obesity is a risk factor for various degenerative diseases.

    But this Harvard University study shows that if you balance the consumption of chocolate candy with sufficient physical activity and eat a balanced menu, the negative effects of chocolate candy need not be too much of a concern.

    According to Mayan beliefs, chocolate is the food of the gods. The original taste of cocoa beans is actually bitter due to the alkaloid content, but after engineering, chocolate can be produced as a food that is liked by anyone.

    Chocolate beans contain 31% fat, 14% carbohydrates and 9% protein. Brown protein is rich in the amino acid tryptophan, phenylalanine, and tyrosin. Although chocolate contains high fat, it is relatively easy to rancid because chocolate also contains polyphenols (6%) which function as antioxidants to prevent rancidity.

    In the United States chocolate consumption only contributes 1% of total fat intake as stated by the National Food Consumption Survey (1987-1998). This amount is relatively small, especially when compared to the contribution of meat (30%), cereals (22%), and milk (20%).

    The fat in chocolate, often called cocoa butter, is mostly composed of saturated fat (60%) especially stearic. But brown fat is vegetable fat which does not contain cholesterol at all.

    To keep pressing saturated fat so as not to be too high, it's good to limit eating chocolate only one stick per day and limit consumption of supplements or other foods that contain catechins such as apple and tea.

    In studies involving human subjects, it was found that consumption of brown fat produced lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol compared to consumption of butter or beef fat.

    So even though both contain saturated fat but it turns out the effect of cholesterol produced is different. The high stearic content in chocolate is thought to be the reason why brown fat is not as bad as animal fat.

    It has long been known that stearic is a neutral fatty acid that won't trigger blood cholesterol. Why? Stearic was digested slowly by our bodies and also absorbed less.

    One third of the fat found in chocolate is oleic acid, which is unsaturated fatty acids. Oleic acid is also predominantly found in olive oil.

    Epidemiological studies in the Mediterranean population that consume a lot of oleic acid from olive oil conclude the positive effect of oleic for heart health.


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