These melt-in your mouth treats are delicious for body and mind

1/31/2017 3:36:57 PM
written By : Nithya Subramanian Print

You will seldom come across a person who dislikes chocolate. It may be described as the ‘food of the gods’ but, when it comes to children, a small brown melt-in-your-mouth slab is a boon.

The history of chocolate is almost 4,000 years old and can be traced back to the Mesoamericans who cultivated the cacao plant in the tropical rainforests of Central America. Consumed mainly as a bitter beverage flavoured with water, vanilla, honey or chilli peppers, it was taken to Europe by the Spanish conquistadors in the 1500s. Interestingly, Spain kept it secret for nearly a century, but when the daughter of Spanish King Philip III wed French King Louis XIII in 1615, she took her love of chocolate with her to France. The popularity of chocolate quickly spread to other European courts, and aristocrats consumed it as a magic elixir with salubrious benefits.

In 1828, Dutch chemist Coenraad Johannes van Houten developed the process for making cocoa powder, thus ending its exclusivity and making it accessible and affordable to the masses. About 20 years later, British chocolate company J.S. Fry & Sons created the first solid edible chocolate bar from cocoa butter, cocoa powder and sugar while Rodolphe Lindt’s 1879 invention of the conching machine produced chocolate with a velvety texture and superior taste.

Today numerous varieties of chocolates are available in the market, and Switzerland leads with per capita consumption of about 9 kg of chocolate a year. 

Children love chocolate in its various forms and can benefit from its many useful properties if they have it in moderation. Here are some benefits of chocolate:

1. Chocolate is a stress reliever. Dark chocolate contains tryptophan and can improve your positive mood and keep you happy too.  

2. It improves blood flow to the brain and boosts brain function. It also helps regulate blood pressure.

3. Contrary to the common belief that chocolate is bad for kids, chocolate helps reduce the growth of plaque and prevents tooth decay. 

4. Dark chocolate contains minerals like iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, potassium, zinc and selenium, all essential for good skin and hair.

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