Health experts believe that cacao and chocolates offers plenty of nutritional benefits that can help fight mental and behavioral problems, like depression and PMS — only if it is used in moderation of course.
A Brief History Of Chocolates
Chocolates are made from chocolate solids and butter that is a result of processing cacao beans. Cacao was introduced to the world by Mesoamerican tribes, like the Mayans and Aztecs.
The Mayans believed that the cacao is a gift from the gods, giving it the scientific name Theobroma which means “food of the gods”. The Mayans hold a celebration to thank the god of cacao every April. The Aztecs deem the cacao to be a precious necessity, even to the point of using it as a form of currency during the peak of their civilization.
The cacao tree grows to a maximum of 6 meters in height and only grows in tropical countries, like South America, Mexico, Philippines, and so on.
How Chocolates Are Made
Chocolates are made from processed cacao beans. The fruit is harvested when it reaches proper ripeness; the bean is dried, roasted, peeled, and ground, then eventually liquefied to produce chocolate liquor and duly processed to produce the ingredients called chocolate solids and chocolate butter.
Dark unsweetened chocolates are made from these ingredients without the addition of sugar. Milk or white chocolate is made from 100% chocolate butter. Sweetened chocolates today are made from both these ingredients but with the addition of sugar and other additives.
Solution To Mental and Behavioral Problems
Medical studies revealed that chocolates and its raw ingredient, the cacao bean, contains compounds that helps cure mental and behavioral problems, like depression and PMS. These compounds are:
This compound is found in both chocolate and cacao beans. Serotonine is a compound that increases brain activity. Patients that are suffering from depression and PMS patients are often found to have a low level of serotonine.
This compound, according to recent studies, mimics the substances produced by our adrenal glands that increases both brain and body activity. Phenylethylamine is a mild anti-depressant that is a common staple for patients suffering from depression and PMS. This is one reason why a lot of people tend to feel happy and active after eating chocolates.
Another anti-depressant compound found in chocolates and cacao, anandamine often leave a person alert and active. This also used with patients under depression. Along with phenylethylamine, this compound is often termed as “bliss” inducing drug that keeps patients with mental illnesses happy.
Used In Moderation
Aside from treating depression and PMS patients, chocolates must be used in moderation since it can be addictive and may also lead to health-related problems. Unsweetened chocolates are the healthiest among other selections due to its low sugar content and other additives.
However, sweetened chocolates that are a favorite of both young and adults today are known to be more effective cure for depression but must intake must be controlled with the recommendation of your doctor or dietician.