The Yummy Biotechnology of the Past and Present

June 26, 2012 at 10:08 am 1 comment

For centuries, chocolate was not eaten in the bar form we know, but consumed as a drink. To the Mayans, Aztecs and Early-Europeans, this frothy brew made from the cacao bean was a phenomenon of nature. These early chocolate-lovers were likely impressed by chocolate because of its mild stimulant value — it made them feel awake, alert, strong. Chocolate quickly gained a reputation as food vital for health.

Documents detailing Aztec life showed that chocolate was viewed as a medicinal marvel. The documents, known as the Badianus and the Florentine Codices, were written in the Aztec’s native language and were found after the Spanish conquest.
Cacao flowers were ingredients in perfumed baths, and thought to cure fatigue in government officials and others who held public office,” says the Badianus Codex, published in 1552. The Florentine Codex, published in 1590, called for a mixture of cacao beans, maize and herbs to ease fever and panting, and to treat the faint of heart…..”

Here is a link to a study that looks at chocolate consumption in relation to blood pressure and risk of cardiovascular disease in German adults

More Dark Chocolate as Asprin:
European Association for the Study of Liver, Vienna, Austria, Thursday 15 April

Doctors could soon be prescribing a dose of dark chocolate to help patients suffering from liver cirrhosis and from dangerously high blood pressure in their abdomen, according to new research1 presented today at the International Liver CongressTM 2010, the Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of Liver in Vienna, Austria.

According to the Spanish research, eating dark chocolate reduces damage to the blood vessels of cirrhotic patients and also lowers blood pressure in the liver. Dark chocolate contains potent anti-oxidants which reduce the post-prandial (after-meal) blood pressure in the liver (or portal hypertension) associated with damaged liver blood vessels (endothelial dysfunction). The data also showed that eating dark chocolate may exert additional beneficial effects throughout the whole body. In comparison, white chocolate, which contains no beneficial „phytochemicals‟, did not result in the same effects.

Life is good! Dark Chocolate as Asprin!

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