Cacao has been grown for at least 3,000 years, with the earliest known documentation of using cacao seeds occurring around 1,100 B.C.
The tropical Theobroma cacao tree produces the seeds that chocolate comes from. Chocolate’s growing region is 20 degrees north and 20 degrees south of the equator, around the world.
Because cacao tree seeds have an extraordinarily robust and bitter taste, they ferment them to develop the full flavor. After the seeds go through fermentation, they dry, clean, and roast the beans.
Once they roast the beans, then they remove the shell to produce cacao nibs. Next, they grind the cacao nibs into a cocoa mass, which is pure chocolate in a rough form.
Unsweetened baking chocolate – cocoa solids and cocoa butter in various percentages. Sweet chocolate – cocoa solids, cocoa butter, plus other fat, and sugar.
Milk chocolate – sweet chocolate with condensed milk or milk powder. White chocolate – cocoa butter, sugar, and milk, however no cocoa solids.
From a cardiovascular perspective, the flavanols in chocolate cleanse the blood of cholesterol deposits and acts as an antioxidant. It can also lower blood pressure.
There is evidence that it acts as an anti-inflammatory in the blood vessels. In brain health, chocolate triggers serotonin, the pleasure center of the brain.
It activates childhood memories, which in turn may make you happy. It’s a power related to satisfaction rather than chemicals.