Chocolate, the decadent dessert food made from fermented and roasted cocao beans has been coveted by humans for centuries. The word “chocolate” comes from the term “xocoatl,” of the ancient Aztecs, who thought it valuable enough to use it as currency. The Latin for “cacao tree” translates to “food of the gods,” and the Mayans considered it a remedy to most ailments. Given the timeless reverence of this candy, it’s no wonder scientists have gone to work trying to cook up the reasons why humans love it so much. Below, see our summaries of a few surprising studies on the oftentimes sweetened treat.
Let’s Get Physical
Post-workout, we’re prone to reach for expensive whey and protein shakes or energy drinks to refuel our bodies after breaking a sweat. But a study released in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism deemed chocolate milk as effective a recuperation tool as any.
The researchers compared the effects and recovery capacity of endurance athletes’ bodies following a succession of bike sprints and an endurance ride the next day – after drinking either chocolate milk or a typical recovery drink. It looks like the Mayans may have been right about their belief in the medicinal magnitude of chocolate, as chocolate milk was just as successful at relieving muscle soreness following sprints and prepping the athletes for their workout the following day. Not surprisingly, chocolate milk won out in the taste test category over the recovery drink, too!
The Beat Goes On
Chocolate is rich in flavonoids, a phytochemical (plant chemical) that has antioxidants, anti-inflammatory abilities, and cell-protective effects. Foods abundant in flavonoids have been correlated with a reduced risk of heart disease and have been shown to lower blood pressure. Dark chocolate is recommended to make your heart throb: it contains about 536 milligrams of flavonoids per 1.4 ounce serving.
Time of the Season
Though women often like to blame their chocolate indulgences on their periods, research has shown that menstrual hormones have nothing to do with their craving. Period. Instead, chocolate is usually reached for because it has been cultivated as a comfort food – and people long for consolation when they’re not feeling well.
In spite of what people say, chocolate does not contain enough caffeine to give you a buzz; an ounce of milk chocolate contains only about 5 milligrams, which is the same amount you’ll find in decaf coffee. A regular cup of coffee, on the other hand, has around 100 milligrams, and tea 50 – even dark chocolate only has about 20 milligrams of caffeine in comparison.
You Can Brush Me Off
In spite of candy’s bad reputation for rotting teeth, chocolate actually has teeth-protecting qualities. Theobromine, which occurs naturally in cocoa, can fortify enamel, according to a Tulane University study.
It actually takes 142 times less cocao extract to have double the protective benefits fluoride has to offer – or so says the American Dental Association. The problem is, chocolate bars generally contain too much sugar for this advantageous quality to matter. But never fear: toothpastes like Theodent offer a fluoride-free, theobromine rich alternative!
At Wockenfuss candy, we have no shortage of chocolate to help you reap all the benefits of this tasty and miraculous treat. From milk to dark and sugar free, we have an assortment that will cater to your chocolate craving needs.
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5 Things You Didn’t Know About Chocolate