This Is Your Heart On Chocolate

By Meghan Holohan


Mayans grew cacao trees in their backyards, blending the beans with vanilla, chili pepper, and achiote to make a bitter, spicy drink known as xocoalt. While Mayans enjoyed consuming the beverage as a treat, they also believed the drink fought fatigue. When Europeans were first introduced to chocolate, they used it to treat upset stomachs. More recently, reports have shown that chocolate improves moods. And a new study found that consuming chocolate reduces one’s risk of developing heart disease.

Oscar Franco, from the University of Cambridge, looked at seven previously published studies on the benefits of chocolate consumption. These seven studies included about 100,000 people. Five of the seven studies reported a benefit to eating chocolate and Franco discovered that people who ate the highest amount of chocolate had a 37 percent lower chance of heart disease and 29 percent lessened risk of stroke.

While Franco did not look at why chocolate lovers seemed to have a lowered risk of heart disease, he suspects that chocolate’s antioxidants and anti-inflammatory traits provide extra protection to the heart.

However, researchers did not look at other aspects of the participants lives—so Franco cannot be sure that the lessened risk for cardiac problems was related to chocoholism or not. And don’t go running out for candy bars just yet. Many of the processed chocolate confections contain a lot of fat, sugar, and calories—all known to play a role in heart disease.

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Happy National Trivia Day! Test Your Chocolate IQ


Thank you!!


1. Who first discovered the value of the cocoa plant?
2. Where, when, and by whom were the earliest cocoa plantations established?
3. What is the name of the drink made by the Mayans from cocoa beans?
4. Chocolate has not only historically been enjoyed for its flavor, but also for what purpose?
5. When was chocolate introduced into the United States?
6. By 1810, which country was producing half of the world’s requirements for cocoa?
7. By 1810, which country was consuming one-third of the cocoa being produced in the world?
8. When was the cocoa press invented?
9. In 1875, Thomas Jefferson wrote to whom, making a declaration about chocolate’s superiority over tea or coffee for both health and nourishment?
10. Why is lecithin used in making chocolates?


1. The Aztecs and the Mayas
2. In 600 AD, in the Yucatan, by the Mayans
3. Legend had it that one could gain wisdom and power from eating the fruit of the cocoa tree.
4. Medicinal
5. In 1765 when cocoa beans were brought from the West Indies to Dorchester, Massachusetts.
6. Venezuela
7. Spain
8. In 1828 by C.J. Van Houten, a Dutch chocolate master. It was used to squeeze cocoa butter out from the beans.
9. John Adams
10. It is used to reduce the viscosity of chocolate, and to lessen the amount of cocoa butter required in the manufacturing process.



…Great chocolate manufacturers choose their beans in the same way as a wine-maker chooses his or her grape varieties.

…Years ago, when harvesting was over, a dance was performed on the cocoa seeds which had been put out to dry in the sun. This tradition continues today in certain regions of Central and South America.

…Africa is now the world’s leading producer of cacao , Ghana is a leading producer country.

…In the Chuao Valley, In Venezuela, the cacao bean is still cultivated just as it was at the time of the Aztecs.

…Wicker baskets, filled with cacao beans, were among the gifts which the Aztecs offered to the conquistadors.

…For the Aztecs, cocao chocolate was a luxury and the cocao beans were like gold, a rare commodity that served as both currency and gifts for kinds and gods.

…The Aztecs used to prepare a drink for the gods made up of ground cocao bean paste mixed with spices and corn.

…The Imperial torte, a square chocolate cake with five thin layers of almond paste, was created by a master pastry chef at the court of Emperor Franz Joseph (1830 – 1916).

…In 1900, Queen Victoria sent her New Year’s greetings to the British troops stationed in South Africa during the Boer War in the form of a specially molded chocolate bar.

…The end of the Second World War marked a new era in chocolate advertising and image-making, which henceforth would be based on photography rather than the graphic arts.

…On April 4, 1828, Coenraad Johannes Van Houten took out a patent for his newly invented cocoa press, which extracted the cocoa butter from the chocolate liquor, leaving behind powdered cocoa.