You might think you know everything there is about truffles, candy bars and other delectable chocolate sweets, but there's always something new to learn. Whether you like incorporating chocolate into all of your desserts or you just like to munch on it during your lunch break, here are a few tidbits of information that you might not be aware of.
Real Chocolate Money
FoodReference.com reports that at one point, chocolate was a type of currency. The Aztecs were thought to use cacao seeds as a form of money to pay for everything from livestock to produce. Many ancient cultures believed that chocolate was best reserved for formal, special events. Chocolate elixirs and liqueurs were commonly used in funerals, weddings and other traditional ceremonies, according to AllWomensTalk.com.
Chocolate as a National Resource
Have you ever thought about who's providing you with delectable treats such as chocolate bars and hand dipped strawberries? FoodReference.com states that West Africa is the biggest cocoa producing area in the world, harvesting approximately 70 percent of the globe's cocoa beans. Every year, about 3.5 million tons of cocoa is produced, according to CoolEarth.org.
Nearly 45 million people around the world depend on cocoa to survive through farming and harvesting. There are an estimated five- to six million cacao farmers to date, meaning there are plenty of people out there working to make sure you have this tasty treat!
Chocolate as a Workout Booster
You might automatically assume that chocolate is a no-no on a regular basis, especially if you're dieting. While it's true that it can result in extra pounds when consumed in large amounts, a bit of chocolate may be able to help you boost your workout. Yahoo! reports that chocolate milk can increase your endurance and relieve muscle soreness following exercise. Skip the energy drink and opt for a bottle of chocolatey goodness!
Chocolate Won't Rot Your Teeth
It's well known sweets are no good for your teeth and will immediately land you in the dentist's office if consumed in large amounts - right? However, chocolate might not be all bad for your mouth. Yahoo! states that cocoa contains an organic molecule, theobromine, which can strengthen enamel.
Just remember, chocolate is best eaten in moderation. Because of its high sugar content, you can accidentally put on a few extra pounds if you munch on too many bon-bons!