A Museum for an Aphrodisiac

Like most Europeans and the majority of people from the American continent, I immensely enjoy chocolate; but it goes beyond that.  I’m actually a chocolate fiend.  It’s so bad that I have a rule, I don’t buy it.  Or, I buy only a small amount, because I always eat what I have.  I can’t stop if it’s there; thus, for me, this small amount is important, as chocolate has beneficial properties when consumed in moderation.

Upon walking along the outskirts of the city center of Granada again, I saw a chocolate museum right in front of me.  I’d never visited a museum such as this so I absolutely had to go in.

Let me share with you what I learned:

Thank the Mayans The Mayans of Central America were the first to discover cacao around 2,000 years ago.

Cacao played an important role in Mayan society.

The Mayans mixed cacao paste with water, chili pepper and cornmeal.  They then poured the concoction from cup to pot and back and forth until it became a thick foam. They then sweetened it with honey.

They drank this sweet panacea during marriage ceremonies.

Some tidbits about chocolate

● Don’t feed chocolate to a dog as it acts as a poison.

● One in every 200 workers (17,000) people in Belgium are involved in the making, selling, and/or promotion of chocolate.

● Cacao is mostly produced in developing countries while consumed in industrialized lands.

● The US is the biggest consumer of chocolate.  -no surprise here-

● Switzerland is the biggest consumer of chocolate per capita.

Chocolate Has Health Benefits

● Cacao has antibacterial agents that fight tooth decay.   Unfortunately, mass produced chocolate has sugar added, which nullifies this benefit.

● Chocolate doesn’t cause acne.  If you’ve heard this or believe it, the good news is: it’s a myth.

● The smell of chocolate acts as a relaxing agent.

● Sniffing chocolate before a meal decreases appetite.

● A Harvard study showed that men who ate chocolate had a one year longer life expectancy rate than men who didn’t.

● Cocoa butter, which is found in chocolate. has oleic acid, a mono-unsaturated fat.  This is the same fat which is found in olive oil and may raise good cholesterol (HDC)

● Chocolate has antioxidants that may protect against cancer and heart disease.

● Chocolate contains tryptophan which is a natural antidepressant.

● Chocolate’s melting point is just below body temperature; thus, it melts in your mouth, and then raises brain activity and heart rate even more intensely than passionate kissing.

● One Chocolate chip provides enough energy for an adult to walk 150 feet.

● 1.5 ounces of milk chocolate provides three grams of protein, 15% of daily riboflavin requirements,  9% of daily calcium requirements  and 7% of daily iron requirements.

My favorite chocolate that’s recently become widely available in the US is Ritter Sport, which is imported from Germany.  The Northern Europeans are the chocolate kings.

Get to the store and treat yourself.  Eat chocolate every day. Just make sure that you do it in moderation so you can still reap the health benefits.

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3 responses to this post.

  1. Oh yeah like you I am also a chocolate addict. I only like to have small amounts on hand. Otherwsie I end up with a headache from chocolate withdrawals after I eat a pound of it. I use chocolate to boost energy and awareness at certain times. Like when I drove to NH for 3.5 hours a bit of chocolate helped me stay very awake and aware. My eyes never tired. Then, when skiing, I ate some chocolate. It kept me going strong for hours.

    Reply

    • DARREN and DAVID: Here on Ometepe they have organic chocolate. I just bought a bar for the medicinal effects and taste of course. I ate half and gave the other half to two local girls to share. They were very happy as it’s way too expensive for them to ever get as a treat.

      Reply

  2. Posted by darren on February 11, 2011 at 12:03

    Another benefit of chocolate (so I have read) is that it can provide relief to asthma. Apparently anything with caffeine (i.e. coffee, tea, caffeinated drinks, cocoa and chocolate) may help fend off asthma.

    Reply

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