Chocolate is something that few people can resist. No matter what sort of chocolate it is – dark chocolate, milk chocolate, chocolate in boxes, nutty or raisin chocolate, exotic flavoured chocolate, or expensive gourmet chocolate – chocolate is something that we love, and who can blame us? Here is a list of the top 10 fascinating facts about chocolate.
1. Improving Brain Function
This is the best fascinating fact about chocolate because of its potential to help older people have a better quality of life. A recent scientific study has shown that chemicals called flavanols in chocolate may be able to help with brain function, and even help to improve the effects of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Cocoa was given to elderly people with mild cognitive impairment, and it significantly improved cognition, including memory.
2. Production of Chocolate
The sheer amount of chocolate produced makes this fact worthy of second place. Chocolate is made from cocoa beans (they are called beans but they are actually a seed from the cacao tree) which are harvested in huge amounts each year, mainly in Africa and Indonesia. The Ivory Coast harvests 1.2 million tons, Ghana harvests 600 thousand tons, and Indonesia harvests 500 thousand tons of cocoa each year.
3. Europe Loves Chocolate
Europe holds roughly 10% of the entire human population, and yet it consumes 45% of all the chocolate that is produced on the planet. Developing countries are eating chocolate more and more however, and the chocolate industry is increasing rapidly in countries like China. Your average person in the UK eats 12 kilograms of chocolate each year, but other countries in Europe eat chocolate even more than this.
4. Chocolate History
Chocolate has a fascinating history, and cocoa has been used to make things that taste similar to modern chocolate for thousands of years. The ancient Central American Mayan civilization though cocoa was a gift from the gods, and they used it for ceremonies and even as currency. The Mayan word ‘cacao’ actually translates to ‘god food’, which transformed into ‘food for the gods’ in Latin, and was apparently misspelled to form the modern word ‘cocoa’ that we know today.
5. The Love Food
Eating chocolate promotes the release of hormones that make us feel good. These include serotonin, which makes us feel relaxed, dopamine, which makes us feel happy, and even, the hormone phenylephylamine, which is the same hormone that is released when we fall in love.
6. Health Benefits
Most people think that chocolate is not very healthy, and this is partially true. Chocolate contains plenty of calories and sugar, and fat from butter and milk, and like many other foods that we like, if we eat too much of it can make us fat and unhealthy. However, chocolate is also proven to be good for us too if we are sensible. Chocolate includes flavanol (which helps to reduce cholesterol and support healthy blood flow), and other natural antioxidants which help boost our immunity and slow down ageing.
Chocolate contains ingredients that help us to look younger and better. It contains many different vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, zinc and B Vitamins which have anti-aging effects, and also includes calcium and sulphur which are great for healthy hair and nails and good-looking skin.
8. Healthy Teeth
The sugar content can lead to tooth decay if you do not brush, but some ingredients in chocolate may actually help to prevent tooth decay and give you nice healthy teeth.
Almost everyone likes chocolate, and some people absolutely love it, but a chocolate collector in America proves just how much he loves chocolate. Bob Brown has the largest collection of chocolate bars in the world – 770 different bars in total!
10. Expensive Chocolate
Most of the chocolate that we buy is quite cheap, but some chocolate is more expensive than most of us can afford. Fritz Knipschildt’s Chocopolagie is a truffle chocolate, and is reported to be extremely delicious, and costs $250 for a single truffle. A special Wispa Gold chocolate was made a few years ago and cost over £1,000!