Chocolate comes from the beans of the cocoa tree in Central America. A single cocoa pod contains 20 to 50 beans. The beans are fermented
, dried, roasted, and pressed to yield a chocolate liquor. The liquor is a mix of cocoa particles and cocoa butter. The chocolate bar you eat is made by adding ingredients like sugar, milk, vanilla extract, and other flavorings to chocolate liquor. back to top
Do you ever have an irresistible urge for a bite of chocolate? If so, you're not alone. Forty percent of American women get chocolate cravings. Researchers think chocolate cravings are your body's way of asking for more nutrients like magnesium
. This may explain why some girls crave chocolate a few days before getting their period
. Your magnesium level may be low at that time of the month. Chocolate may also help balance low levels of your brain's biochemical messengers, such as serotonin
. These messengers help regulate your mood and food intake. back to top
Is chocolate good for me?
Chocolate contains antioxidants
, which help protect your body from disease, as well as minerals
like copper, calcium, and magnesium. And dentists say chocolate doesn't cause cavities
. But before you switch to an all-chocolate diet, check those food labels
. Most chocolate contains a lot of sugar and fat
not a solid foundation for a healthy diet
. So savor the occasional piece of chocolate or candy bar when you want a treat. back to top
What's white chocolate?
White chocolate is made from cocoa butter, sugar, milk, and flavorings. It does not contain cocoa particles. back to top
Is carob chocolate?
Carob is not chocolate. But some people use carob instead of chocolate to make treats like carob-covered raisins and carob-chip cookies. Carob is made from the fruit pods of carob trees which are found in the Middle East and the Mediterranean. Carob beans are dried, roasted, and ground to make carob powder. Even though carob powder has less fat than cocoa powder, don't assume all carob treats are low in fat. The ingredients that are mixed with carob powder to make those carob bars or brownies may add fat. Remember to check the food label
. back to top