Chocolate is so much more than a snack to eat while binge watching Netflix all night long. Just one piece has so much history and hidden usages behind it, you would be surprised how powerful it really is. Check out below for the top 10 surprising facts about chocolate you probably didn’t know.
1. It is a Powerful Mental Stimulant
Chocolate has the power to widen blood vessels and can even help reduce blood pressure. Not to mention, it is very effective at keeping the main populous awake and focused for hours. A recent study at Northern Arizona University on the effective ability of chocolate keeping over 120 subjects awake. After being fed 60% cacao dark chocolate the subjects were kept awake and alert beyond levels that the scientists conducting the study were expecting.
2. White Chocolate is Not Real Chocolate
Believe it or not, white chocolate does not contain any chocolate liquor or cocoa solids like dark or milk chocolate. However, it does contain a small amount of cacao bean respectively.
3. Chocolate Was Used to Make Alcohol
Around 1400 to 1100 B.C. civilization fermented cocoa beans to create alcoholic drinks. Discovered in Honduras, researchers have learned that it was first farmed for this purpose before it was eventually used to create the sweet dessert we eat in today’s modern culture. As a brief heads up, it’s not suggested to go out any buy chocolate to ferment into alcohol. More likely, it took years to perfect and the drinks early civilizations drank contained very little alcohol content.
4. Solid Chocolate Was Invented in Britain
The very first chocolate bar was created by Fry and Sons, a British shop, in 1847. The shop combined cocoa butter, chocolate liquor, and sugar to form a mostly solid type of treat.
5. Chocolate Can Lower Body Fat Levels
The general consensus is if you eat a lot of chocolate, you will gain weight. This may not be as accurate as once thought. A study completed at the University of Granada discovered that this so-called common knowledge may, in fact, be wrong. In 2013, scientists studied almost 1500 teens and took note of any changes to their waist circumference, body mass index, and body mass percentage. The teenagers who regularly consumed chocolate in their diet has lower levels of fat in their abdomens and lower total body fat. Before you trade in all your vegetables for chocolate remember, everything is moderation.
6. Chocolate Money?
When cacao beans were first used in ancient Aztec and Mayan civilizations, the beans were ground and mixed with hot water, much like coffee. Because they were such a major part of trade between the two cultures, the cacao beans were used as a baseline currency. A basket of cacao beans was used as a single trade unit at the market.
7. It Can Improve Your Memory
Scientists have been studying the effects of chocolate on humans for many years, trying to find potential health benefits. A study conducted at the Columbia University Medical Center may have proven that chocolate can improve your memory. In this experiment, participants were given a beverage that contains a high dose of cocoa flavanols. This is an antioxidant that is found naturally in chocolate. The participants were instructed to drink this beverage every day for three months while they had their memory tested. The group who consumed this drink had a 25% better performance than the control group. Brain scans that were taken during this study also found an increase in functionality of the part of the brain that helps new memories to form.
8. The First Chocolate Treat Was…
Hot chocolate! Cacao was originally brewed in both Aztec and Mexican culture. However, today’s hot chocolate is entirely different from the historic beverage. Back in the day, it was very bitter and was often only used for special occasions and ceremonies like weddings.
9. Chocolate Has a Unique Melting Point
It is the only edible substance with a melting point of 93 degrees Fahrenheit. This is just below human body temperature, which is why it melts so easily in your mouth and in your hands. However, scientists have invented a chocolate that does not melt. In 2012, the Cadbury company announced that it has discovered a way to produce chocolate to be more durable. Their chocolate can withstand higher temperatures without melting by using more finely ground sugar. This also reduces the overall fat content of the chocolate bar.
10. There are Many Chocolate-Related Holidays
It is more than just Halloween and Valentine’s Day, there are a number of holidays devoted only to chocolate. July 7th is known as Chocolate Day. This is to celebrate the day in 1550 when chocolate was first brought to Europe. Though some dispute the exact date of this momentous occurrence, there is still plenty of reason to celebrate. There is also the July 28th celebration of National Milk Chocolate Day, International Chocolate Day on September 13th, and on November 7th, National Bittersweet Chocolate With Almonds Day.