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Facts and Myths About Chocolate, and 5 Fun Ways to Enjoy It in Moderation

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Facts and Myths About Chocolate, and 5 Fun Ways to Enjoy It in Moderation

We have many different reasons to celebrate throughout the summer, but if you have a sweet tooth, one holiday in particular stands out. July 28th is National Milk Chocolate day, and it's the perfect opportunity to indulge. Before you begin collecting candy bars in your assisted living apartment, learn a bit more about this yummy treat and how you can enjoy it in moderation.

5 Fun Facts (and Myths) About Chocolate

  • Chocolate comes from the cacao tree in bean form, and like coffee beans, it's naturally bitter. Chocolate only becomes sweet during the refining process, when sugar is added.
  • The media widely reports that dark chocolate contains antioxidants that can be good for your heart, but that's only when it's part of a balanced diet. Eating chocolate can also help you feel relaxed because of the type of brain waves it creates, and the cacao bean is anti-bacterial, so eating a bit of chocolate (and remembering to always brush your teeth) can help fight tooth decay.
  • Most cacao is grown very close to the equator, which has the hot, moist environment necessary for this plant to thrive. But chocolate candy products come mostly from Europe and North America.
  • If climate conditions do not improve worldwide, the cacao plant may disappear by 2050. Don’t worry, though. The Mars corporation, one of the world’s largest producers of candy, pledged $1 billion to help save chocolate for future generations.
  • The cacao tree is considered a fruit tree, and its scientific Latin name, theobroma cacao, means “food of the Gods.” It takes 400 cacao seeds to make 1 pound of chocolate, and each tree may produce up to 2,500 seeds.

5 Fun Ways to Enjoy Chocolate This Summer

  • Chocolate melts at lower temperatures than other foods and is easy to get in liquid form, making it a good choice to drizzle over fruits like strawberries or light desserts such as angel food cake. Pour just a taste over your favorite dessert to get the flavor you crave without overindulging.
  • M&Ms were invented for soldiers to have for dessert in the battlefield because the candy coating helps them “melt in your mouth, not in your hands.” Portion out small handfuls of these sweet treats every so often, and enjoy the flavor that explodes when you crunch on a few at a time.
  • Incorporate chocolate into your lunchtime by using Nutella instead of peanut butter on your next sandwich. Nutella was invented during a cacao shortage during World War II rationing by grinding up hazelnuts to help extend the supply of chocolate.
  • Calcium is important to your health and can be combined with chocolate to give you a pleasant-tasting way to increase your intake. Talk to your doctor about adding chocolate-flavored calcium chews to your daily regimen.
  • Add some chocolate to your morning coffee to create your own mocha. When brewing your coffee, add half an envelope of hot chocolate mix or a tablespoon of chocolate powder to give your drink some sweet flavor.