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Chocolate - The food of the gods

Wednesday - July 4, 2018 8:49 am , Category : Fun Facts

July 3 (WTN)- For the ancient culture of the Americas, chocolate, or cacao, was a sacred plant .its use began with the Olmecs around 1200 B.C. and continued with the Maya and Aztec. The Aztec restricted drinks made from cacao seed to ceremonial use and consumption by high-ranking adult males – priests, government official, and warriors.

 Mesoamericans recognized the general properties of cacao (later called cacao) and used it to treat intestinal complaints, to calm the nerves, and as a stimulant. Mixed with maize and other herbs, cacao treated fever, shortness of breath, and heart palpitations.

Cacao flowers were ingested to treat fatigue; cocoa butter the creamy fat in the beans, soothed burns, irritated skin, and chapped lips. European explorers brought cocoa and chocolate to western cultures, where it became very popular as a delicacy and as a medicinal plant. Its assigned scientific genus name, Theobroma, means “Food of the gods”.

Today studies show that cacao seeds contain more than 300 different chemical compounds .these include the stimulant caffeine as well as Theobromine, an alkaloid that has a calming effect on the brain and an energizing  effect on the nervous system. Cacao also contains compounds that tend to reduce depression and may induce a slight sense of euphoria, as well as powerful antioxidant compounds that may help protect against cancer and heart disease. Some medical professionals even recommend a daily “dose” of about an ounce and a half of dark chocolate for its cardiovascular benefits.
 
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