Cocoa Beans : The Food Worthy of Gods
March 15, 2017
Chocolate is perhaps everyone’s weakness, Dentist’s nightmare and literally the best creation of Humans. Unfortunately binging on chocolates is always followed by gallons of guilt. The question to ponder is, are chocolates all bad? The main raw ingredient in chocolate – cacao is the titan of health but it is the added sugar and fat in the chocolate that are the real culprits. If you take out the sugar and fat out of chocolate you are left with a gourmet and wholesome food item – The Cocoa (Cocoa Beans). In 1753 Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus gave the cacao tree its official name ‘Theobroma Cocoa’ meaning Food of Gods.
Cocoa first cultivated around 1000 B.C. by Mayan civilization was reserved only for Gods. Today 5000 years hence it is enjoyed, cherished and revered by almost every human being on the Earth. Most of the world cocoa is grown in a narrow belt 10 degrees either side of the equator. Best quality cocoa beans are grown in Ghana and Asia.
It is a super food having more than 300 chemicals which have varied positive effects on human health. It is full of antioxidants that are responsible for controlling free radicals that are the main cause of aging. Cocoa produces the same chemistry in the brain that occurs when one falls in love (Feeling like you are falling in love? Check what’s in your smoothie ;). Cocoa is rich agents that enhance the production of various feel-good chemicals, notably serotonin and dopamine. This makes it an excellent anti-depressant and mood elevator. Cocoa also organically regulates blood sugar and cholesterol thereby reducing the risk of blood pressure and heart attack.
Cocoa is a culinary delight of every pastry chef, and is extensively used in smoothies, cookies, cakes and many sweet treats. Surprisingly cocoa is also used in many savoury dishes. But till date, the main usage of cocoa is in making chocolates, after all, the global chocolate market today is worth $98.3 billion. Another popular way to use cocoa in your daily diet is by way of cocoa nibs. They are just fermented, dried, roasted and crushed cocoa beans and can be added to cookies and shakes to give them an extra punch of flavour and crunch.
So take a resolution that next time you have a heartbreak, your boss screams at you or your friends are being their usual jerky self. Instead of binge eating 10 bars of chocolates or a tub of chocolate ice-cream, make yourself sugar-free or low sugar- cocoa flavoured smoothie.
P.S. A weird fact- more than 5000 years back cocoa used to be stored in pottery, traces of it were found by archaeologists in Ecuadorian Amazon.