Research Paper on Chocolate

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Veronica Ukotic Professor Kathleen Forhan US 315 Transitions 13 March 2013 Irresistible Chocolate with Benefits ! Smooth. Creamy. Simply heaven! These are the thoughts that flood my mind

when I think of this once forbidden treat known as chocolate. Holding a worldwide appeal, chocolate has been a temptation to many for years. So, knowing that something this desirable is beneficial to one’s health would make a chocoholic’s day, right? Well, great news! There has been recent nutritional research studies that have proven chocolate to be beneficial to one’s health and irresistible. ! The cacao bean was founded by an ancient tribe called the Olmecs between the

time of 1200 to 300 B.C. They were a tribe that inhabited the tropical lowlands of South America and would be the first to domesticate the plant and use the beans. The Olmec tribe would be responsible also for naming these bitter seeds that held secrets to power and health (Ziegler 400). ! Along would come the Mayans and Aztecs who would also become fond of the

cacao bean. It would be used for physical and spiritual nourishment. They would treasure cacao and integrate it in their religion, as well as part of their currency. A slave would be the equivalent to 100 cacao beans (“Chocolate” 1). These first chocolatelovers would not create chocolate bars, but instead make a coarse paste where they would grind the cacao bean with spices, water and chilies to create either a hot or cold frothy beverage (Ziegler 402).

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!

It would not be until the Spaniards, particularly Hernan Cortes, would arrive to the

New World in the sixteenth-century, that the once bitter taste of cacao would change forever. They would add cinnamon and sugar to the Indian drink they found to be displeasing to the palate (“Chocolate” 1). This would begin the evolution of cacao into what we know now as a little piece of heaven. ! By the time the eighteenth-century would arrive, a world wide love for the cacao

bean would form between the Old and New World. A botanist named Carl Von Linne would name the cacao tree, theobroma, which translates as “Food of the Gods” (Zeigler 400). Unfortunately though, when chocolate would be prepared it would be quite fattening and cause grief to the stomachs of the Europeans. Inventor Conrad Van Houten would resolve this issue by patenting in 1828, a mechanical press that would separate cacao butter from the chocolate liquor (Zeigler 402). This would result in a less fattening cacao and an abundance of cacao butter. The extra cacao butter would help to lead the way to the creation of solid chocolate (Zeigler 403). ! As the molding processes would be developed and solid chocolate would

become popular, chocolate would be gritty and coarse, not quite at the stage of perfection as we know it. Rudolph Lindt, in 1879, would invent a conch machine that would refine sugar and homogenize the once sandy chocolate texture. With this invention, Lindt would develop the silky, smooth creamy texture the world would develop an addiction and the sales of chocolate would take flight (Zeigler 403)! ! According to Sandra Yin, “In 2000, total U.S. chocolate consumption rose to 3.3

billion pounds,... That’s almost 12 pounds for every man, woman, and child in the U.S. (1). Wow, with these numbers there is no denying that Americans find chocolate

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irresistible, but why? Chocolate contains more than 350 compounds. Several of theses are held responsible for stimulating pleasure in your brain. The first ingredient that has made chocolate so irresistible is plain old sugar. In reasonable amounts, sugar, also known as sucrose, has been noted to provide a calming effect. It has been shown to help in the regulation of stress your body is experiencing. This is done thru the opiod system of the brain (Wallenstein 82). ! As well as sugar, chocolate contains theobromine and phenylethyamine.

Theobromine is a mild natural stimulant that is molecularly...
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