It’s a rare woman who doesn’t love chocolate, but in case you were in any doubt about the appeal of this sweet treat, here are ten fascinating facts about chocolate that might just tempt you to indulge.
Chocolate is one of the best sources of antioxidants, which mop up the free radicals running amok in your body before they can cause visible aging or trigger cancer. Dark chocolate has more than 5 times the oxygen radical absorbance capacity of blueberries, which makes it a surprising superfood.
2. Mood Lift
Many of you have known it for years, but now it’s official: eating chocolate can improve your mood. Chocolate contains phenylethylamine, a chemical that your brain produces when you are in love. When you eat chocolate, you get a quick mood-enhancing rush of phenylethylamine, which is why it makes you feel happier.
3. Healthy Fats
If you’re avoiding chocolate because it’s high in fat, you might want to think again. Cocoa butter, one of the main ingredients in dark chocolate, is high in monounsaturated fats like oleic acid, which is also found in olive oil. However, watch out for milk chocolate, which contains harmful animal fat!
4. Dark vs Milk Chocolate
Dark chocolate is almost certainly a healthier choice than milk chocolate. The full-fat milk used to make your favorite bar of Dairy Milk is high in saturated fat and can cause your cholesterol to sky-rocket if eaten in excess. When choosing between bars of dark chocolate, remember that the higher the cocoa percentage, the lower the sugar content of the bar.
5. Chocolate for Diabetics
Diabetic women often say that chocolate is the thing they miss most when sticking to a low-sugar diet. However, there is no need to miss out completely. Diabetic chocolate has improved in taste and quality over the last few years and is now widely available on the high street. Sugar substitutes such as sorbitol are used to sweeten diabetic chocolate.
6. Cocoa Heritage
The history of chocolate stretches back over 2000 years. The Mayan people of South America used to crush cocoa beans to make a rich chocolate drink. Cocoa was considered extremely valuable and was even used in religious ceremonies.
7. Chocolate Industry
These days, chocolate is big business! Over 3 million tonnes of cocoa are produced each year and shipped to markets all over the world to make tasty chocolate treats. The average Briton eats 17.5 lbs of chocolate each year, so don’t feel too bad about guzzling that last square!
8. Fairtrade Chocolate
Fairtrade chocolate promises a better deal to the farmers who grow the cocoa beans. Fairtrade farmers are given better working conditions and wages that allow them to support their families. Sales of Fairtrade chocolate in the UK have been growing steadily over the last few years, from £18m in 2005 to £343m in 2010, which is good news for African cocoa growers.
Some women avoid chocolate because they fear it will cause or worsen acne. However, a study carried out at the Pennsylvania School of Medicine demonstrated that eating chocolate has little to no effect on the oiliness of the skin.
10. The Naming of Chocolate
Have you ever wondered where the word “chocolate” comes from? It’s actually a testament to chocolate’s South American roots. The word “Xocolatl”, which the Aztecs used to describe the bitter chocolate drink they made out of cocoa beans, evolved to become the word that we use today.