Chocolate is one of the most popular foods and flavors in the world, and there are many foods that include chocolate, especially desserts, including cakes, puddings, mousse, chocolate brownies, and chocolate chip cookies. Many candies are filled or coated with sweet chocolate. Chocolate bars made with solid chocolate or other chocolate-coated ingredients are a snack. On some Western holidays, including Christmas, Easter, Valentine's, and Hanukkah, it is customary to make chocolate gifts in a variety of shapes (such as eggs, hearts, and coins). Chocolate is used in both cold and hot drinks such as chocolate milk and hot chocolate, and in some alcoholic beverages such as cream de cocoa.
Although cocoa originated in the United States, West African countries, especially CDT de Ivory and Ghana, are the leading producers of cocoa in the 21st century, accounting for 60% of world cocoa supply.
With nearly two million children in West Africa engaged in cocoa cultivation, child slavery and trafficking were major concerns in 2018, and it continues. International efforts to improve the living conditions of children have failed due to persistent poverty, lack of schools, growing world cocoa demand, more intense cocoa cultivation, and the continued exploitation of child labor.
Different types of chocolates can be distinguished. Pure and unsweetened chocolate, also known as "baking chocolate", mainly contains cocoa solids and cocoa butter in different proportions. Most chocolates used today are in the form of sweet chocolate mixed with chocolate and sugar.
There are three main types of cocoa: raw chocolate, dark chocolate and milk chocolate.
Health Benefits of Chocolate: Dark chocolate contains phytonutrients called flavonoids, which are phytochemicals that act as antioxidants, which may play a role in cancer prevention and heart health, according to research published in the 2016 Journal of Nutritional Science. The cocoa plant, which is derived from chocolate, contains a compound called theobromine, which helps reduce inflammation and lower blood pressure, says Toby Amidore, a cookbook author and nutritionist with the Food Network.
One of the biggest benefits that researchers are highlighting is the role that dark chocolate can play in improving heart health. A systematic review and meta-analysis published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology in July 2020 found that consuming chocolate once a week was associated with an 8% increased risk of atherosclerosis. Another important study, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in May 2021, analyzed data from more than 188,000 veterans and concluded that regular consumption of 1 ounce of chocolate may be associated with an increased risk of coronary artery disease.
Research shows that the flavonoids in dark chocolate can help maintain heart health. These chemicals help produce nitric oxide, which relaxes blood vessels and lowers blood pressure, according to a March 2017 review in the American Journal of Physiology: Cell Physiology.
Side effects of chocolate: Chocolate may be good for many people, but some people are more sensitive to caffeine and other compounds in chocolate. Excessive chocolate consumption can lead to adverse effects on the nervous and cardiovascular systems, stomach problems, heart palpitations, insomnia or excess systole.
Although the benefits that chocolate offers are not less than the side effects due to its excessive consumption, people should avoid consuming it excessively. Here are some common side effects of chocolate overdose.
Anxiety and irregular heartbeat Chocolate contains a lot of caffeine, which boosts a person's energy. However, when taken in excess, side effects such as irregular and rapid heartbeat, dizziness, sweating, and increased anxiety can occur.
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