The discovery of America caused Cocoa arrived in Europe in the 15th century. Its especially bitter flavor did not conquer the majority of European palates that consumed it as an infusion. In the XIX century, cocoa merged with sugar and it was at that moment that this food became chocolate and one of the most valued products for children and adults.
Nowadays, most food stores sell chocolate products or products that contain cocoa in their ingredients: cereals, chocolates, yogurts, pastries, liqueurs or dairy products. Likewise, there are stores specialized in this tasty food and more and more varieties of cocoa are becoming known.
But despite being an ingredient so used and consumed, few people know the true origin of cocoa. Cocoa comes from the tropical tree that receives the same name as its fruit. The first plantations were discovered in South America and it was considered ‘food of the gods’. The cocoa that is consumed is the seed or fruit of this tree and is found inside a pod that grows between the trunks of the plant.
Its original flavor is bitter, but with the incorporation of sugar in the production of chocolate, the belief that cocoa was sweet spread and now more people prefer chocolate with a low percentage of cocoa (around 50%) compared to to those who know how to taste pure cocoa with all its bitterness.
Health benefits of cocoa
The benefits of cocoa For health there are many since it is considered a very complete food. It has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties because it has a high content of polyphenols, which protect the body from free radicals and aging. It also has magnesium, iron, potassium, copper, zinc, manganese and vitamins B and C.
Likewise, cocoa is a mood regulator because it contains substances such as theobromine, phenylethylamine and tryptophan, as well as a great source of fiber, provides healthy carbohydrates and fats and is highly recommended for athletes and adolescents.
In addition, it contributes to improving brain blood flow thanks to its flavanol content, which is a protective compound for the nervous system, promoting learning and memory.
cocoa is a very complete food, but it is not only used in food. The pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries use cocoa butter for various products such as lipsticks; Cocoa pulp is used for alcoholic beverages and its shell for bovine feed. Endless applications that make this fruit very versatile and appreciated throughout the world.