“Cacao” is how you say “cocoa” in Spanish. Flavonoids found in cocoa products have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-clotting effects that can reduce the risk of diabetes by improving insulin sensitivity.
In November, Germans celebrate St. Martin–a knight who shared his cloak with a beggar–with a lantern-lit parade, sweets and steaming hot chocolate. The French celebrate April Fool’s Day with chocolate-shaped fish, or “Poisson d’Avril.”
Benjamin Franklin sold chocolate in his print shop in Philadelphia.
Research to date supports that chocolate can be enjoyed as part of a balanced, heart-healthy diet and lifestyle. Dark chocolate has more cacao (the beans that chocolate are made from) and less sugar than other chocolates, so it is considered healthier than milk and white chocolate.
Some cacao trees are more than 200 years old, but most give marketable cocoa beans for only the first 25 years.
Each cacao tree produces approximately 2,500 beans and it takes 400 cocoa beans to make one pound of chocolate. It takes two to four days to make a single-serving chocolate bar.
Eating dark chocolate widens arteries and promotes healthy blood flow that can prevent the buildup of plaque that can block arteries.