Monday, 29 August 2011

Goodness Of Cocoa

Having considered a few general aspects of foodstuffs we can now consider more specially cocoa and chocolate. It is probably true to say that cocoa and chocolate are consumed by many people primarily for pleasure rather than for their nutritional value. Nevertheless, they have an important role to play as a supplement to a balanced diet. The fat content of cocoa means that a cocoa drink is able to provide more energy than an equivalent drink of coffee or tea.

Cocoa, when take with milk and sugar, forms a highly nutritious beverage and also has a mild stimulatory action due to the theobromine and traces of caffeine that it contains (approximately 2 percent and 0.1 percent of the cocoa powder respectively) in addition to being a pleasant warm drink. It has also been stated that the digestibility of the milk is improved by the presence of the cocoa which helps modify the formation of the milk clot in the stomach.

Although, as stated earlier, chocolate is normally eaten for the pleasure it gives, rather than because it is considered nutritious, it does nevertheless contain a proportion of valuable milk solids, among them butter fat, milk protein, calcium and other minerals and vitamins.


Antioxidant Effect Of Polyphenol In Cocoa:

The health beneficial effect of cocoa bean is mainly attributed to its large amount of polyphenols contents such as flavanoids. The most important compound that is found in cocoa is the flavan-3-ols or also known as catechin. Flavanoids are a group of chemical compounds that demonstrate a strong antioxidative activity.

Chocolate Reduces the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease:

Studies reported that the quantity of antioxidants absorbed from cocoa and chocolate is considerably higher than that from wine, tea and vegetables, and dietary intake of cocoa rich in antioxidant flavanoids may reduce the risk of atherosclerosis, morbidity and mortality from coronary heart disease.

Cocoa Increase The Ability to Cope With Stress:

From study on rats, it has been established that administering antioxidants during stress situations and training exercises has a beneficial effect on stamina. The study in Japan has shown that cocoa polyphenol suppresses the change in an emotional behavior under a physical stress and promote the accommodation to the stress.

Cocoa Delay Aging Process:

Aging is another process that is due to the destructive effect of free radicals. Therefore, antioxidant rich diet can play a role in delaying the aging process. Extensive research has been carried out with respect to the aging process and it is assumed that the life expectancy of a healthy human being can be extended by 5 to 10 years by adhering to a well balanced antioxidant rich diet. Another study carried out by the Department of Epidemiotology of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, USA found that chocolate consumers enjoy an average 0.95 added years of life compared to non-consumers. As a plausible explanation for these observations the presence of polyphenols as antioxidants in chocolate was mentioned.

Chocolate is a Nutritious Food:

Chocolate as a major product of cocoa is actually a nutritious product and its nutrient content can contribute to a balance diet.

Dark chocolate Milk chocolate
Energy 511 kcal 514 kcal
Fat 32.3 g 29.0 g
Protein 4.1 g 8.1 g
Carbohydrate 51.9 g 56.1 g
Iron 2.3 mg 0.8 mg
Calcium 29.0 mg 233.0 mg
Thiamine 0.04 mg 0.09 mg
Riboflavin 0.02 mg 0.3 mg
Niacin 0.4 mg 0.4 mg
Vitamin A 22.0 mg 84.0 mg


Friday, 26 August 2011

Why People Love Chocolate?

Did someone say… chocolate?! – Not everyone likes the same foods, but you might feel like chocolate is something a whole bunch of people really like! Scientists and researchers have done a lot of studies on why people crave and enjoy chocolate so much. There are lots of ideas and studies about different things that might make it so appealing!

Chocolate has hundreds of naturally occurring chemicals in it that have been shown to have “feel good” affects on our bodies, which probably contribute to why people like it! One good example is that certain substances in chocolate have been shown to help your body produce more of a special chemical known as “serotonin.” Because serotonin makes us feel relaxed, eating chocolate has a pleasurable, relaxing effect that makes you feel good!

Just like serotonin, there are chemicals in our bodies that chocolate might affect, in addition to other ways it’s been shown to influence people’s moods and feelings. Lately, chocolate is being praised for having lots of different healthy qualities that can be good for you! – Of course, too much of anything usually isn’t a very good idea, but having a little bit of chocolate sometimes is probably okay!

Monday, 22 August 2011

The Origin of Cocoa & Chocolate

You have read about the history of chocolate and how it came to Malaysia, so, here it is, a video on the origin of cocoa and chocolate.

Watch and be mesmerized with the making process of chocolate, from cocoa to well, chocolate!

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Cocoa's Journey to Malaysia

A cacao tree plantation in Malaysia's state of Perak
Cocoa was first introduced to South East Asia in 17th century by the Spanish. The Spanish brought the cocoa from Latin America to the Philippines in 1670. Then, it was believed that the cocoa tree was later brought to Indonesia and Sabah in the early 18th century.

In Malaysia, the first cocoa planted area was found in Melacca in 1778. Subsequently, the cocoa planting was started in a plotted area at Serdang Agriculture Station and Silam Agriculture Research Center, Sabah. The earliest cocoa commercialization started between 1853 to 1959 where cocoa types Amelonado was first planted at Jerangau, Terengganu. The planted area was 403 hectarages.

Cocoa trial was further undertaken at Serdang, Cheras, Kuala Lipis and Temerloh between 1936 to 1940. However, cocoa was only actively planted after world war II. Cocoa officially came to Quoin Hill, Tawau, Sabah in 1960. From then on, there was no turning back to cocoa fever.

Credit : Lembaga Koko Malaysia

Saturday, 13 August 2011

The History Of Chocolate

Chocolates are one of the most popular and recognizable flavors and they have been delighting taste buds all around the world for at least 2,000 years. It all began in Amazon where the Mayans and Aztec believed that this bitter cocoa drink is an elixir of life that can ward of evil and to strengthen the body from illness. During those times, only the elite could afford to drink this rich substance and often cocoa beans were used as trading currency. From Mesoamerica to Spain to all around the World!

In the mid 1600s, the Spanish came to Mesoamerica and took these delightful cocoa beans back to Spain. This was the beginning of the growth of the passion for chocolate and London was hooked on the cocoa craze. At that time, cocoa was still served as a beverage but the Europeans added sugar and milk to counteract the natural bitterness.

The chocolate making process has evolved over the years from the Industrial Revolution. The discovery of how to turn cocoa powder into solid chocolate bars meant that even more people could savor the delightful aroma and taste of this fine ingredient.

Since then, the craving for fine chocolate has never stopped and chocolate fans continues to crave after premium chocolates at a global scale!

Are you one of them?

Credit: Cocoa Boutique
Image: AgricultureInformation

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