Bliss of Hot Chocolate: From Ancient Rituals to Health Benefits

Overview:

Hot Chocolate – an irresistible timeless elixir is like a warm comforting hug in a mug during winters. Hot chocolate is beyond a drink, it is a matter of emotion that can have various ways of preparation such as using chocolate, cocoa powder, and a combination of both.

Creamy texture, and rich flavors of chocolate, vanilla, and spices, make hot chocolate a highly indulgent beverage loved by everyone from children to adults.

Hot chocolate is like a hug from the inside, a moment of pure indulgence and warmth that transcends the ordinary.”

Origin of Hot Chocolate

Chocolates are believed to exist as early as 4000 years ago. In the 1800s the Mayans and Aztecs from the ancient Mesoamerican civilization were known to be the first ones to cultivate and consume cacao beans. A few archaeology reports describe the use of chocolate for ceremonial occasions and rituals. Drinking chocolate held a religious significance in medieval societies. Mayan temples depict remarkable representations of god’s birth as cacao trees. The Aztec culture has the belief that God has bestowed the boon of cocoa upon humanity which is termed the “Food of Gods

The European history of drinking chocolate began in the mid-1500s and was recorded in Spain for the first time. In the initial stages, cocoa was enjoyed by the elite class as a drink in its raw and bitter form. Chocolates were loved and enjoyed by the French Royals which made it quite popular across Europe.

According to the historical reports, chocolates were consumed in the liquid form rather than bars. Chocolate bars were used much later around the 19th century. 

Health Benefits of Hot Chocolate

  • Cocoa is rich in flavonoids that are significant for neutralizing free radicals in the body. Flavonoids help reduce blood pressure by promoting dilation of blood vessels. Regular consumption of chocolate in various forms may help improve heart health.
  • Chocolate is rich in flavonoids that have neuroprotective effects that influence cognitive function, enhancing concentration, memory, and learning.
  • Phenylethylamine and Theobromine are compounds present in chocolate that can potentially impact mood. These are believed to be natural stimulants that can potentially improve mood.
  • Also, the compounds have anti-inflammatory properties and reduce inflammation in the body.
  • Chocolates have also been found to be rich in iron. Indulging in chocolate drinks once in a while can help maintain iron levels.
  • Chocolate consumption has been associated with a thermogenic effect and generates body heat.
  • A boost in serotonin levels has been noted after the consumption of chocolate. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is crucial for mood enhancement which is linked with relaxation and happiness.

Conclusion:

While chocolate offers various health benefits, it’s crucial to choose low-sugar or dark chocolate to maximize these advantages. Processed sugar additives can be harmful, emphasizing the importance of making informed choices. The potential health benefits primarily lie in the cocoa content of high-quality chocolate, making it essential to opt for varieties with higher cocoa content. However, given chocolate’s calorie content, moderation remains key for a balanced approach to consumption.

the aartery chronicles

Sanika Pande

1 thought on “Bliss of Hot Chocolate: From Ancient Rituals to Health Benefits”

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