Ophthalmology

A bit of dark chocolate might sweeten your vision

It may not replace prescription glasses, but a few bites of dark chocolate might offer a slight and temporary bump up in vision quality, new research suggests.

Diabetes

Magnesium cuts diabetes risk

Getting enough magnesium in the diet may reduce the risk of diabetes, especially for those who already show signs of heading that way.

Health

Chocolate milk is a 'natural' for post-exercise recovery

One of the best post-exercise recovery drinks could already be in your refrigerator, according to new research presented at the American College of Sports Medicine conference this week. In a series of four studies, researchers ...

Health

Halloween candy: Facts and myths

(PhysOrg.com) -- A holiday devoted to vampires, goblins and ghouls is a recipe for a ghastly night of fright. But false stories of marauding strangers and poison-laced candy can make the evening scarier than it needs to be. ...

Health

Researchers: It is possible to get sick of chocolate

They say that laughter is the best medicine, but some people might endorse chocolate instead. The dark variety has been shown to reduce blood pressure better than a placebo. Scientists credit the flavanols in dark chocolate ...

Medical research

Chocolate cuts death rate in heart attack survivors: study

Heart attack survivors who eat chocolate two or more times per week cut their risk of dying from heart disease about threefold compared to those who never touch the stuff, scientists have reported.

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Chocolate

Chocolate (pronounced /ˈtʃɒklət/ (help·info) or /-ˈələt/) comprises a number of raw and processed foods produced from the seed of the tropical cacao tree. Cacao has been cultivated for at least three millennia in Mexico, Central and South America, with its earliest documented use around 1100 BC. The majority of the Mesoamerican peoples made chocolate beverages, including the Aztecs and the Maya, who made it into a beverage known as xocolātl, a Nahuatl word meaning "bitter water". The seeds of the cacao tree have an intense bitter taste, and must be fermented to develop the flavor.

After fermentation, the beans are dried, cleaned, and roasted, and the shell is removed to produce cacao nibs. The nibs are then ground and liquified, resulting in pure chocolate in fluid form: chocolate liquor. The liquor can be further processed into two components: cocoa solids and cocoa butter. Pure, unsweetened chocolate contains primarily cocoa solids and cocoa butter in varying proportions. Much of the chocolate consumed today is in the form of sweet chocolate, combining chocolate with sugar. Milk chocolate is sweet chocolate that additionally contains milk powder or condensed milk. "White chocolate" contains cocoa butter, sugar, and milk but no cocoa solids (and thus does not qualify to be considered true chocolate).

Chocolate contains alkaloids such as theobromine and phenethylamine, which have physiological effects on the body. It has been linked to serotonin levels in the brain. Scientists claim that chocolate, eaten in moderation, can lower blood pressure. Dark chocolate has recently been promoted for its health benefits, including a substantial amount of antioxidants that reduce the formation of free radicals, though the presence of theobromine renders it toxic to some animals, such as dogs and cats.

Chocolate has become one of the most popular flavors in the world. Gifts of chocolate molded into different shapes have become traditional on certain holidays: chocolate bunnies and eggs are popular on Easter, chocolate coins on Hanukkah, Santa Claus and other holiday symbols on Christmas, and hearts on Valentine's Day. Chocolate is also used in cold and hot beverages, to produce chocolate milk and hot chocolate.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA