Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Cocoa

After the mighty brain, the humble little cocoa plant might seem like nothing special to talk about. But I'm going to anyway, because cocoa really is kind of cool. And, any excuse to talk about chocolate, right?

Cocoa can be considered a super food. Its high levels of phosphorous and magnesium help healthy teeth and strong bones, and the chemical theobromine in cocoa kills the organisms that cause cavities (chocolate toothpaste, anyone?) Cocoa is actually the richest dietary source of magnesium found in any common food, as well as the richest source of antioxidants. It has ten times the antioxidants found in blueberries, twenty times more than red wine, and thirty times more than green tea! And, the Phenylethylamine (PEA) in cocoa helps with concentration. Cocoa also contains iron, and flavinoids that help prevent heart disease.

Now we can't just declare all chocolate a health food. Really, the health benefits of cocoa would only be maximized when the chocolate itself has a high cocoa content and lower sugar content - in other words, dark chocolate. The higher milk and sugar content of milk chocolate decreases the health benefits and increases the calories and fat content. White chocolate doesn't contain cocoa at all.

But really I wanted to highlight cocoa, because it's an example of the plant life God put on this earth to help keep us healthy and heal naturally. Our culture has such a pharmaceutical mindset. And, while man-made pharmaceuticals are important sometimes, we often forget that we have so much God-made stuff available to us. So break out the dark chocolate (preferably organic and fair trade), and praise the Lord for the wonderful gift he gave us in the cocoa plant.

Some interesting facts about cocoa:

* The botanical name for the cocoa plant is Theobramba cacao, which means "food of the gods."
* The plant is native to the rain forests of Latin America, where they live in the shade of the understory, enjoying the consistent temperatures and abundance of moisture. 
* The fruit of the cocoa plant grows directly off the trunk and branches.
* The Mayans used cocoa beans as currency - 100 beans would buy a slave.
* When chocolate came to Spain, it was used as medicine and prescribed for things like fevers and pain relief. And at one point, the Catholic church approved chocolate as a dietary supplement to be taken during fasting.
*Before the late 1800s, chocolate was consumed only as a drink. In 1850, Joseph Fry added more cocoa butter instead of water, and solid chocolate was born. In 1875, Henri Nestle added condensed milk, creating the first milk chocolate.
*It takes about 400 cocoa beans to make a pound of chocolate.
*Most Americans prefer milk chocolate.
*Cocoa also has a savory side, and is an ingredient in many chili recipes as a compliment to the spicy, smoky flavors of other spices. 

My favorite chocolate is Green & Black's organic Maya Gold. What is your favorite way to enjoy cocoa? 

 

(note: I do plan to add a list of my sources, but I've run out of time and need to get this posted. Check back later if you want to know where I found my information.)


Names of God - C:
Creator * Counselor * Comforter * Cornerstone * Christ

17 comments:

  1. yummm....chocolate. Ahem. Sorry. So what was I gonna say? Oh yeah, it is my go to "pharmaceutical" for just about anything. Probably why my jelly butt has not gone down since Diva was born ;)

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  2. I was pretty excited to hear about cocoa being high in Iron when my midwife said i needed more! haha :]

    -Katlyn

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    1. Yup! Any excuse to talk about it or eat it!

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  3. I love chocolate, but can only eat in incraments,to hear good things about it is even better!

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    1. Absolutely! Thanks for stopping by!

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  4. Love coffee, and these factoids are cool! Have you ever read the historical fiction, The Coffee Traders by Liss? It deals with the early Dutch coffee market.

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    1. No, I haven't read it. Sounds interesting though. I'll look it up. Thanks for stopping by!

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  5. Hello Christine,

    What a great post! Cocoa, yum! I think this is my new favorite blog! I will definitely be back to see what you dream up for the other letters, and to read more of your lovely writing. I am following now.

    I am doing the A to Z Challenge as well. Take a peek at my blog too if you get a chance! I write humor, and everyone says I am the funniest person on the planet (well, maybe it is just the voices in my head saying that—that’s the doctor’s latest explanation—but I will take what I can get).

    Best,
    MOV
    http://mothersofbrothersblog.blogspot.com

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    1. Aww, thanks for saying that! And for the follow. I'll jump over and visit your blog now!

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  6. I was hooked from the title! I love me some dark chocolate! Your paragraph before the facts list is so true. It only takes a little research to find alternative health remedies that benefit the whole body.
    I'm enjoying your posts!

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    1. If you visit my other blog, you will see that I have a lot of health issues. More and more I am looking for natural ways to deal with my issues. You are right - there is so much out there!

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  7. I love dark chocolate, too! Fair trade + organic = guilt free eating! I made a flourless chocolate cake a couple of weeks back and it was deliciousness. I love chocolate in many forms, except I'm not super fond of hot chocolate, probably because it's just too sweet.
    Love your blog! Great post!

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    1. I find that I have very little guilt eating the type of chocolate I eat! And I hear you on the hot chocolate - I've never been a fan.

      I'd love to have that cake recipe! Thanks for stopping by!

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  8. I love the cocoa bean in any variety....if I could have it via an IV that would be wonderful! Thanks for stopping by and looking forward to what's up next!
    Good luck with the challenge!

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  9. I love chocolate a little too much, I fear! :)

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  10. Fabulous post. Well worth reviving from last year. So informative and, hey, who doesn't like chocolate. I know that in England they don't call it hot chocolate. They call it "Drinking Chocolate". Says so on the tin. Thanks from a brand new blogger for most enjoyable read. Much to learn from you guys.

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I love your comments!