Trish Brimhall from Nutritious Intent was here to talk all things chocolate.
How big is our craving?
Although America doesn’t out eat all other countries when it comes to chocolate (the Swiss hold that title). We are no lightweights when it comes to the most notable and sometimes notoriously craved food in the world.The Average American eats 12 pounds of chocolate per year. That is the equivalent of 16 bags of chocolate chips.
The history of the chocolate craze:
Known history of chocolate dates back 4000 years, and while we associate it’s early starting in 1900 BC near modern day Chiapas Mexico and much later with Montezuma and explorers who brought it over to Europe, some lesser known history actually hits closer to home. The earliest traces of cacao have been found in southern Utah and date back to 780 AD. This discovery is even more surprising when you recall that cacao is grown solely within 20 degrees latitude of the equator. And yet ancient chocolate found its way 1,500 miles north to dry, hot Utah.
While chocolate provides minerals such as iron, copper, zinc, magnesium and phosphorus, the stars of the show when it comes to health benefits are the flavonoids. These compounds help reduce blood pressure and reduce the production of LDL cholesterol. Studies are researching links between these compounds found in chocolate and things such as improved brain function and memory and even oxygen use and endurance in athletes. And of course, there are the mood enhancing effects of chocolate, which may account for the unrivaled craveability of this dark delight. While the % cocoa on the label doesn’t guarantee a certain level of heart-healthy flavonoids, the darker the better. Also, heat and alkali destroy these healthy compounds so dutch processed and more heat processing means less health benefits.
Trends to watch for:
Keep an eye out for interesting additions to chocolate this year such as spirulina (blue-green algae), tahini, matcha, or other super foods. Lavender chocolate is said to be on trend as well. But if some of those combinations sound less than appetizing, it’s hard to nutritionally beat the classic combination of chocolate with nuts and fruit.
Visit www.NutritiousIntent.com for more information.