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  • Das K

Of Kashmir dreams & Chocolate Promises

This post is an answer to the question:

Would eating chocolate help a child memorize information more easily, since memory enhacement is one of the purported benefits of eating chocolate ?

Lets begin with an analogy:

A trip to snowcity is going to be exciting. It is an experience in itself. The 45 minutes spent there is a fun experience for the kids and it is quite refreshing. However, if you think that snowcity will give you a glimpse of Shimla, Manali and Kashmir then you are mistaken. There is so much more to Kashmir, Manali and Shimla than just snow and ice.

If a doctor were to publish a paper confirming that a trip to Kashmir valley during the winter had definite health benefits, could people replicate the benefits by planning a trip to a nearby food processing unit and spending a couple of days in the coldstorage room?

So also, when it comes to chocolate, the kind that you get in the market, is so highly processed, that in some cases there is hardly any natural chocolate left in the finished product. Natural chocolate on the other hand is not as ‘Tasty’ at least not to someone who has been living on highly processed chocolates.

If you were given the real chocolate and had never before tasted 100% natural and unprocessed chocolate, then in all probability you would say “I don’t think this is chocolate!“

Benefits of REAL Chocolate: Made from fermented Theobroma cacao seeds

(By real chocolate, I mean the unadulterated and unmodified chocolate bean paste)

1. Rich in Antioxidants

2. Rich in anticancer compounds.

3. Could help prevent stroke.

4. Might help reduce Hypertension.

5. Beneficial effect on Lipid profile

6. Good for the brain.

7. Could help with memory (Works as a nootropic)

8. Good source of essential minerals

9. Highly nutritious.

Most of the research is done on the real kind of chocolate (Something that you rarely find in the market)

What is real Chocolate: An overview of how real chocolate is made

1. Ripe Cacao fruits are harvested

2. Fruits are then cut open and the pulp and seeds are put through a fermentation process.

3. Post fermentation, the seeds are dried, roasted, and the outer skin covering the seeds is removed

4. The roasted cocoa seeds or nibs are then finely ground till it turns to a dark brown chocolate smelling thick viscous liquid.

5. This is the real chocolate. This chocolate contains, real cocoa solids, real cocoa butter and all the medicinal phytochemicals of cocoa seed that help the nervous system, the cardiovascular system and is nutritionally very rich and potent with anticancer, anti-inflammatory substances.

6. This is the chocolate they would have used for research. This one is good for Memory, helps those who are suffering from stress, Hypertension and also helps prevent cancer and autoimmune diseases.

What you get in the market: Transformation of Real Chocolate into a Confectionary

(By real chocolate, I mean the unadulterated and unmodified chocolate bean paste)

7. The real chocolate goes through an Alkali process also called as the Dutch process, so as to reduce the astringency imparted by certain flavonoids. These flavonoids are anticancer compounds. However since they come between you and the taste- the industry does not want them. Moreover removing these compounds makes the taste of chocolate more consistent from batch to batch.

8. Cocoa butter is extracted and sold separately for a very high price.

9. Cocoa solids are separated from the original solids and sold separately for an equally high price

10. Finally when a bar of chocolate has to be made for you it might contain very little to no cocoa butter, as for Cocoa it could be 10 % for milk chocolate and 30-35% for bitter sweet varieties and that is where its connection with real chocolate ends.

Other ingredients added to make a chocolate bar

1. Milk Solids

2. Soya Lecithin.

3. Sugars and Artificial sweeteners

4. Soy oil and other vegetable fats (Since Cocoa butter is too expensive, they prefer to use other fats instead)

5. Artificial colours and Food Dyes

6. Artificial and Nature identical flavours

7. Food preservatives like BHA and BHT

8. Hydrolysed vegetable proteins.

9. Emulsifiers and Stabilizers

Now what happens when you add 70% or more of unhealthy items to 30% of unnaturally processed chocolate? Could it still have all the benefits?

Defintely no. The sugars, the artificial flavours, the endocrine disruptors and the anti-life compounds- the preservatives would have a greater negative impact on us that the purpoted benefits of pure chocolate.


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