Chocolate Essay Examples

Essays on Chocolate

Chocolate has long been a staple dessert of humans worldwide, but its benefits today are often overshadowed by its often high sugar content and excessive processing. Contrary to popular belief, however, the basic, fundamental components of chocolate—and dark chocolate in particular—harbor a plethora of neurological and physiological benefits, such as protection from neurodegradation, the slowing of cognitive impairment, the formation of long-term memory, an increase in cognitive performance, improvement in mood, changes to metabolism, and the prevention of a series of cardiovascular disorders.

Harris’s novel Chocolat
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The main topic of the two texts First and foremost, we can already identify the main topic of the two texts: chocolate. Both texts basically talk about their subjective and creative processes of chocolate creation. In this comparative essay, I will elaborate the different purposes and points of views of authors, as well as the syntax, lexis and semantic fields that differentiate the messages conveyed by the two texts. To begin with, it is quite clear that the to texts…...
“Like Water for Chocolate” & “Chronicle of a Death Foretold”
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"Like Water for Chocolate" & "Chronicle of a Death Foretold" Have you ever been threatened by societal influences that dictate the way you lead your life? Portrayal of society insensibly places an important role in our lives because we often allow ourselves to be governed by the general public's perspectives and criticism. How we see ourselves is not nearly as important as how we are seen in the eyes of the beholder. For example, teenagers habitually parade their new electronics…...
ChocolateChronicle of a Death ForetoldDeath
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
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Willy Wonka and the Chocolate FactoryWilly Wonka is the Bill Gates of chocolates, candies, and sweets for the world. The thing is the factory’s gates are always closed. “No one ever goes in, no one ever comes out,” and nobody can figure how the magic is made. Everyone’s chance to see the tricks behind the treats comes when Wonka plants five golden tickets in five random Wonka bars. These golden tickets are a pass to tour the Wonka factory and…...
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Slavery in the Chocolate Industry: Plight of Children Used for Cocoa Farming
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Close to half of the worlds chocolate is made from the highly prized top-quality cocoa beans that are grown on farms in the Ivory Coast and Ghana, a small nation on the western side of Africa. The farmers of these poor nations are notorious, however, for sometimes relying on slaves to harvest their beans, The slaves are boys between 12 and 16 sometimes as young as 9 ~ who are kidnapped from villages in surrounding nations and sold to the…...
Nestle Heaven Bar Advertisment
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1. The URL is on the advert so people can check out the website for more information about the chocolate bar, for example: allergy warnings, ingredients and other versions in the Heaven range. This helps to boost sales as more people will know about the Heaven sub-brand and know what other chocolate bars are currently available. 2. The font of the advert is to promote the chocolate bar by making it sound irresistible to the customers. This is good as…...
AdvertisingChocolateWorld Wide Web
The Magic Journey of Like Water For Chocolate
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Magic realism is an artistic, literary genre in which magical elements are combined with the real world. The story begins and ends with magical scenes, which not only make the story more interesting but also causes the reader to be drawn between the two views of reality. In her novel, Like Water for Chocolate, Laura Esquivel uses magic realism in order to develop the plot in unique ways. The story starts with the birth of the protagonist Tita. Tita was…...
“Life is Like a Box of Chocolates”
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A paper which compares life to a box of chocolates "Life is like a box of chocolates..." At first glance the quote "life is like a box of chocolates seems" rather silly. How could such a large and complicated concept such as life be compared to something as small and simple as a box of chocolates? There have been two opposing viewpoints in regards to the meaning of this quote, and each viewpoint comes about by a different analysis of…...
ChocolateForrest GumpLifeLoveOpposing Viewpoints
Laura Esquivel’s Like Water For Chocolate
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Laura Esquivel's Like Water For Chocolate and Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being are both very different novels, but within both written pieces there are similar concepts where motifs and spiritual realism are used to emphasize how character relationships influence rebelliousness. Focusing on the two protagonists and their mothers, the will of rebellion against family and family tradition is shown in both Tita and Tereza. By the authors' use of restriction and constant surveillance within the mothers of the…...
Kiss Baking Company Limited
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Sweet Heart Cakes Limited originated in the heart of El Socorro, Trinidad in 1976, with the goal of manufacturing and distributing snack cakes throughout Trinidad and Tobago. In an effort to expand their business, the company introduced the Milk Sandwich Loaf to their baking portfolio in 1982; shortly after their name was changed to Kiss Baking Company Limited. The factory then moved from El Socorro to its new plant in Chaguanas (formerly Coelho's plant) in 1991 making them the largest…...
Is there a gap in the chocolate market?
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This report has been written to discover whether there is a gap in the market? And if so any suggestions as for how to fill it. In order to find if there are any gaps in the market I had to carry out some research. To start of I wrote up a basic questionnaire to ask the public to find out what it is that the consumers want. A copy of the questionnaire is labelled as appendix 1. I also…...
Flavor of Friendship
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The taste of friendship is like a yummy cookie with its different colours and smells. It is difficult to describe how a friendship grows, for it often develops from seemingly contradictory roots: mutual needs, overlapping dependencies, and intense share of experience. But not only in that, there are various ingredients that will add to bake a complete, delicious and nutritious friendship. These ingredients and flavour stands for a different experiences, happy moments, worst times, and even in naught times. Milk…...
The finance department is in charge of and deals with money
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The finance department is in charge of and deals with money. The Finance department keeps records of all financial documents this involves reporting and recording expenses spent and profit made, asset value and cash flow (money that goes in and out of the business). Since Cadbury is a limited company the finance department must, each year, file with Register of Companies a set of audited accounts. These will include a director's report, auditor's report, profit and loss account, balance sheet,…...
Chocolate Industry
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CHOCOLATE INDUSTRY IN UK CADBURY, UK The Chocolate industry in the UK has been facing many challenges in recent times. The escalation of prices of the main ingrediants such as cocoa, milk and sugar has forced companies to increase prices. Customers showed resistance to higher prices which prompted brands such as Cadbury & Masterfoods (Galaxy) to reduce packaging sizes. Concerns among the public regarding obesity has also led chocolate companies to bring out smaller sizes of chocolate.A big issue facing…...
BusinessChocolateFair TradeIndustry
The History of Chocolate Chip Cookies
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The history of chocolate chip cookies. Whoever in here likes chocolate chip cookies STAND UP! Well, I like them too. The story of the Chocolate chip cookie is really an interesting one. In fact, did you know that the invention itself was really an accident? Nope, well, I didn't think so. Let me tell you a little about it. Have you ever wondered how the chocolate chip cookie came to be? Have you ever wondered who brought this American tradition…...
Charlie and the chocolate factory film review
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Tim Burton's remake of Roald Dahl's "Charlie and the chocolate factory" is a magical, uplifting film to capture the minds of all ages. Children will become engaged in the brightly coloured factory where elements of fantasy are realistically portrayed. However, the older viewers will notice a deeper, sinister view of Willy Wonka's miraculous world, with the contrasting darkness in the flamboyantly decorated rooms. These contrasts in colour may reveal a darker, lonely side to the cheerful, flamboyant Willy Wonka behind…...
ChocolateFilmTim Burton
Campaign of Cadbury Company
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Subsidiary of Parent Company The subsidiary of parent company of Cadbury Confectionery Malaysia Sdn Bhd Cadbury Schweppes PLC. Cadbury Schweppes PLC is a British based chocolatier and confectionary company that was recently (2010) bought by Kraft. It is the industry's second-largest global chocolate-making company after Mars-Wrigley. Headquartered in Cadbury House in the Uxbridge Business Park in Uxbridge, London Borough of Hilling don, England and formerly listed on the London Stock Exchange, Cadbury was controversially acquired by Kraft Foods in February…...
Taste Testing Experiment On Chocolates To Differentiate Its Various Descriptive Sensory Attributes
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INTRODUCTION Chocolate is the one of the most preferred food products around the world and depending on the quantity of cocoa used during its processing steps, there are large scale productions of chocolate products. (Transparency Market Research, n.d). Chocolates are made up of various ingredients like sugar, cocoa, cocoa butter, milk fat, certain milk components and emulsifiers (El-kalyoubi, Khallaf, Abdelrashid & Mostafa, 2011). The oral sensation of chocolate and the properties contributing to its texture is mainly depended on the…...
Overview of Theobroma Cacao Properties
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Theobroma cacao (Cacao) historical and current uses due to polyphenol, flavonoid, and theobromine characteristic used for anti-inflammation and antioxidants Introduction: Overview of Theobroma cacao compounds and medicinal properties Chocolate is a well-known product of Theobroma cacao and is one of the most beloved food items. Aside from the luxurious and indulging portrayals from commercials and social media, chocolate has an ingredient which makes it what it is today. Derived from the Cacao tree there are many beneficial properties which are…...
BiologyChocolateDesserts and bakingFood
The Cacao Industry Involves Multiple Procedures of Growing Cacao
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The cacao industry involves multiple procedures of growing cacao and preparing the beans for use. This means that it needs more convenient and faster operation to ease and boost the production of cacao in our country. Through the process, local farmers tend to go with the native way of processing and preparing cacao to be sold to the market. Such operations include drying the cacao beans, roasting the dried seeds, winnowing, and then grinding the nibs to turn them into…...
Is Life Like a Box of Chocolates?
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Forrest Gump, directed by Robert Zemeckis, is a movie about the exceptional life of an ordinary man. Forrest Gump is simple-minded man who grows up in a small town in Alabama. At school all of his peers reject him except a troubled girl named Jenny who becomes his life long friend. When kids bully Forrest, Jenny always tells him to run. Running not only saves Forrest, but is the reason he accomplishes so much in life. He gets a scholarship…...
ChocolateDestinyForrest GumpFree WillLife
Case Analysis of Rogers Chocolates
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There are multiple issues facing Rogers’ Chocolates. Rogers’ has a dated value proposition. In order to expand they need to compromise the history behind the brand. The service tactics and packaging is old fashioned. The need for a different look was further backed by a consultant hired by Rogers’. Their current traditions may be well received in Victoria but they aren’t working to fully expand markets. Rogers’ brand image was tarnished due to the import of raw materials from West…...
Charlie and the Choclate Factory
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Despite the fact these were produced 34 years apart, there are many striking similarities. Of course, there are also many differences, which a viewer would expect in films that were done so far apart. Although these films were done three decades apart, the formula of the fantasy genre has not changed much over the course of the decades. The most obvious similarity in the genre is the general audience who will view these movies. The general theory of the fantasy…...
ArtChocolateCinematographyDesserts and bakingFilmFood
Chocolate Cake
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Throughout my life I have always enjoyed cooking and baking. When I was little I was always stuck to my grandma and watched every move she made when she was cooking. I watched her so much throughout the years that I almost have everything she bakes or cooks memorized down to every little detail. I chose the regular chocolate cake because that was one of my grandmas most popular dessert she made. I can remember it like I was there…...
Essay about Cowgirl Chocolates
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Her product development was based on the input of her friends and family, which represents a skewed and too small sample of the population. In addition, Marilyn is cutting out the biggest portion of her target market by naming her product Cowgirl Chocolates and making the brand label May Lillie. Therefore, the branding is not appealing to men, which constitute the biggest portion of her target market. Before spending money on advertising, a target market has to be defined and…...
Like Water For Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
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Recipes in Like Water For Chocolate by Laura Esquivel The kitchen has long been associated with the mandatory or compulsory servitude of women. "Barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen" remains the most limiting of the stereotypically masculine preferred roles for women. Cecilia Lawless contends that culinary endeavors, like cooking and creating or following recipes "is traditionally considered a gendered discourse - the woman's domain, hence marginalized - and therefore not a discourse of empowerment" (Lawless 262). However, women writers around…...
Chocolate business plan
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Introduction The market leader of the chocolate industry in India, Cadbury, is a British subsidiary of the American multinational confectionary, food and beverages conglomerate “Mondelez International”. Cadbury, is the second largest confectionary company in the world, close on the heels of Mars, Inc. In India, Cadbury owns a market share of 66 %, significantly ahead of the other multinational company operating the same space for many years, Nestle India, as well as other national, international and regional brands like Amul…...
Chocolate industry India
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Intro The marketplace leader of the chocolate industry in India, Cadbury, is a British subsidiary of the American multinational confectionary, food and drinks corporation "Mondelez International". Cadbury, is the 2nd biggest confectionary business in the world, close on the heels of Mars, Inc. In India, Cadbury owns a market share of 66 %, substantially ahead of the other international company running the same space for several years, Nestle India, along with other nationwide, international and local brands like Amul and…...
Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker
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"Quality is the measure of quality or state of being devoid of shortage, defects, and considerable variations", (Nader, 2009). Quality of a product can be mainly examined from a maker and a consumer point of view. From a consumer perspective, product quality is point of view as each private views quality in a different way. Eventually, product quality is the ability of the item to satisfy client expectations as required from the users. Quality from a manufacturer's point of view…...
Busines Plan for Charles Chocolates
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Charles Chocolates (CC) is a privately held premium chocolate producer based in Portland, Maine with a history dating back to 1885. The selling channel is primarily retail and wholesale. The mission of CC is to remain committed to high quality, increase company size by two or three times and improve band integrity while maintaining strong community ties with existing loyal stakeholders. CC’s current strategy involves selling high quality products, maintaining traditional old fashioned values and practices to appease repeat consumers,…...
Dark Side of Chocolate
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1. The systemic ethical issue raised by this case begins with the economic state of the Ivory Coast. The prices of cocoa beans have decreased quite significantly leading the farmers to cut down their labor costs. In doing so, the farmers have been left with no choice but to turn to child slavery in order to make a living and profit out of their farms. Also, in the legal aspect, child slavery in the Ivory Coast is illegal; however, they…...
The Health Benefits of Chocolate
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For centuries, chocolate has been one of the favorite sweet-tasting treat in the world and until not too long ago, also considered unhealthy. Recent studies show that cacao, which chocolate is made, contains potent antioxidants that can actually be beneficial to our health. Cacao is derived from the beans of Theobroma cacao, a tree native to South America (1). Historically cacao was being used by ancient people with various medicinal purposes such as treatment of inflammations, heart palpitation, and prevention…...
Chocolate Research Paper
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Chocolate is a key ingredient in many foods such as milk shakes, candy bars, cookies and cereals. It is ranked as one of the most favourite flavours in North America and Europe. Despite its popularity most people do not know the unique origin of this popular treat. Chocolate is a product that requires complex procedures to produce. The process involves harvesting cocoa, refining coca to cocoa beans, and shipping the cocoa beans to the manufacturing factory for cleaning, coaching and…...
Chocolate Survey
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Easter has passed, but chocolate continues to be a popular purchase at the checkout counter. Chocolate comes in many forms and many brands. There are many chocolate makers such as Hershey, Wonka, and Nestle. According to NBC News, America’s favorite candy bar is Snickers being that it is the most purchased candy bar in the United States. Believing this, a survey was created consisting on nine questions and was distributed to 12 people via social media to test the theory…...
Chocolate Speech
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Life is like a box of chocolate, you never know what you are going to get. Good morning everyone. I am here to talk about the delicious chocolate. Have you ever wondered when chocolate started and who first invented it? The chocolate started over 2000 years ago. The word chocolate comes from the Aztec word chocolat. It means bitter water. Chocolate comes from the seed of a cacao tree where is mostly found at tropical places like in west Africa.…...
ChocolateHate speechSpeak
Chemistry of Chocolate
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Chocolate is made from the cacao bean. According to Rodney Lipson, “Cacao has been a cultivated crop for at least three thousand years, probably quite a bit more. The people who first utilized Cacao were the inhabitants of what is now Venezuela” (Lipson) This group of people would eventually spread the cacao bean in northwestern South America. Cacao was clearly highly valued by these people and they spread it northward through trade with their neighbors. It was probably the Maya,…...
ChemistryChocolateDesserts and baking
From Cocoa to Chocolate
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Chocolate comes from the cacao bean, which comes from a cocoa tree, which are found in Central America. Mayans The Mayans found the cocoa trees down in South America, and then migrated up to Central America, where their empire stretched from the Yucatan Peninsula to the Pacific Coast of Guatemala. The Mayans are known for being the first people to create plantations, where they had people working on a cacao bean plantation. They also referred to the cacao bean as…...
Chocolate Essay
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Who can be able to resist the temptation of chocolate? I bet no one can. However, while you are enjoying your bar, have you ever thought of the making behind? What makes chocolate so delicious? Let’s discover it through the ABC news: http://www. abc. net. au/btn/ Before the video started, I predicted that it would mention about the history and process of making chocolates, expecting it will be interesting and fun to learn. Indeed, the woman spoke through the video…...
Beryl’s Chocolate
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Beryl's Chocolate and Confectionery Sdn Bhd was developed in 1995 with the mission to produce superior quality chocolate and great confectionery delicacies. Quality, innovation and great services are Beryl's top priorities and commitments to customers. Beryl's chocolate usage only the finest ingredients and materials to produce our products, beginning with the choice of cocoa beans and ending with good quality packaging products. Beryl's company thought that it is the quality of the cocoa beans which are used that offer the…...
Essay about Dark Chocolate
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Chocolate is made from plants, which means it contains many of the health benefits of dark vegetables. These benefits are from flavonoids, which act as antioxidants. Antioxidants protect the body from aging caused by free radicals, which can cause damage that leads to heart disease. Dark chocolate contains a large number of antioxidants (nearly 8 times the number found in strawberries). Flavonoids also help relax blood pressure through the production of nitric oxide, and balance certain hormones in the body.…...
Blood PressureChocolateHealth
Chocolate and Brownies
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Baking brownies seems easy enough, but have you ever followed every step on the back of the box and weren’t happy with the outcome? I think we all have done that a number of times. If you want to know how to create the most amazing mouth-watering brownies keep reading. You and anyone who will get the pleasure of enjoying the brownies won’t be disappointed with your new and improved recipe. Start off by making a grocery list to purchase…...
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Health Benefits of Chocolate

Cocoa, the primary ingredient in chocolate, is the term for the dried and fully fermented fatty seed from the fruit of a cocoa tree, Theobroma cacao. The cocoa plant was likely first cultivated in circa 400 A.D. in the Mayan empire. They, however, did not utilize cocoa for its taste, but rather for the analeptic and revitalizing effects of xocolatl (fig. 1), a combination of ground, dried cocoa beans that were dissolved in water, cinnamon, and pepper. Cocoa beans became of such great value that they were used as currency in the Mayan and Aztec empires, where they were stored in safes beside gold and other invaluable stones1. Today, cocoa liquor, often referred to as “percent cacao” on packaging, is the most utilized ingredient in chocolate making. It is a paste made from ground, roasted, shelled, and fermented cocoa beans, otherwise known as nibs. In order to be classified as dark chocolate, chocolate must contain be at least 35% cocoa liquor by weight.

The chemical and physical properties of chocolate are mainly the results of cocoa butter. Cocoa butter is yellow in color and contains three primary triglycerides with oleic acid: POP (20%), POSt (40%), and StOSt (25%) (fig. 2). POP, POSt and StOSt are abbreviations for the triglycerides that make up cocoa butter. They can also be added to cocoa to make chocolate using cocoa butter substitutes, such as illipe butter, Borneo tallow, palm kernel oil, shea butter, and the kernel oil of a mango, among many others. Cocoa butter is brittle below 20 degrees Celsius, soft between 30 and 32 degrees Celsius, and melts at 940 to 97o Fahrenheit, or just barely below body temperature1. This is the chemical attribute responsible for chocolate’s characteristic melting-in-the-mouth experience.

Cocoa butter is a mixture of monounsaturated and saturated fatty acids. Oleic acid dominates the monounsaturated fraction, while the saturated fatty acids are primarily comprised of palmitic (fig. 3a) and stearic acid (fig. 3b). Generally, saturated fatty acids are associated with higher risks for coronary heart disease, as they have been shown to elevate total cholesterol and LDL. Stearic acid is, in a sense, an anomaly because it has not been found to elevate serum lipid levels to the same extent as other saturated fatty acids, such as myristic or palmitic acid. Cocoa butter has a relatively high lipid content, but since roughly 35% of the lipid content is stearic acid, it is thought to be nonatherogenic and to exert a neutral cholestrerolemic response in humans, meaning it does neither raises nor lowers cholesterol. Other organic components include carbohydrates (starch, cellulose, sucrose, glucose), pectose groups (pectose, pectin, pectic acid), vegetable acids, amides (asparagin), and extractives (chlorophyll, tannin, alkaloids). The inorganic components are mostly salts of several metals, namely potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, and calcium.15

Several minerals necessary for optimal vascular function are also present in the cocoa bean. Magnesium, copper, potassium, and calcium are all present in relatively high concentrations in cocoa and they have all been linked to reduced risk of hypertension and atherosclerosis3, an inflammatory disease that involves a chronic injury to the endothelial lining of the blood vessel and the subsequent succession of inflammation and bodily responses18. Dark chocolate has 36 mg of magnesium, a cofactor in protein synthesis, muscle relaxation, and energy production, per serving, which is 9% of the daily recommended allowance. It reduces stress by hindering the release of cortisol, a predominant stress hormone10. This is thought to be one of the primary reasons people have stronger chocolate cravings in times of particular stress. Dark chocolate also serves as a major source of dietary copper in the American diet, providing 31% of the daily recommended value per serving. Copper is necessary for iron transport, glucose metabolism, infant growth, and brain development. Deficiency can potentially lead to, among other diseases, glucose intolerance, inflammation, hypertension, and myocardial hypertrophy3. Dark chocolate contains 1.90 mg of iron per serving, equating to 25% of the daily recommended value. Iron is found in human red blood cells called hemoglobin, which is vital in catalyzing the transfer of the oxygen in blood from lungs to other tissues7. This mineral content elucidates how highly processed chocolate with absurdly high sugar concentrations give chocolate a bad reputation, but in reality, the foundational components are actually quite healthy.

Cocoa contains several polyphenolic compounds; dark chocolate has up to 50 mg of polyphenols per gram!3 These act as antioxidants, so they prevent oxygen from binding with other substances, most notably fat. The basic structure of a flavonoid is a C6-C3-C6 backbone with two armomatic rings. They are distinguished from one another by their respective degrees of hydroxylation21. Single servings of cocoa products can contain more procyanidins than the amount consumed by the average American per day. Dark chocolate, in particular, is especially rich in flavonoids—specifically, flavanols, or flavan-3-ols, containing nearly triple the flavanol-rich cocoa solids compared to milk chocolate6 (fig. 4). Flavonoids are also found in tea, red wine, blueberries, apples, pears, cherries, and several types of nuts19. So far, the majority of studies have been conducted on the effects of chocolate intake and increased flavanol levels on the cardiovascular system, skin, cholesterol concentrations, and neurotransmitter release of anandamide and serotonin2. These flavanols are responsible for the bitter taste of cocoa since they form complexes with proteins in saliva. The primary flavanols in cocoa are epicatechin, catechin, and procyanidins, which contribute the majority of cocoa products’ antioxidant activity. These have denoted a plethora of effects on the central nervous system and its processes, with evidence mounting on its ability to shield from neurodegradation by decreasing neuroinflammation3. Chronic inflammation in the brain’s glial cells can effectuate gradual neural degeneration, leading to the onset of Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and the neural injuries that are strongly associated with recurrent strokes. The structure of catechin (fig. 5) mirrors the structure of kinase inhibitors that possess anti-inflammatory effects on these glial cells. The increased velocity of blood flow in the middle cerebral artery has also been observed as a result of flavanol consumption, imparting evidence to the potential for protection against dementia and stroke3, as several studies have shown a link between a reduction in cerebral blood flow and the development of Alzheimer’s and depression with a significant increase occurring during remission14. A 2011 study showed that women who raised their cocoa consumption by 50 grams per week reduced their risk of cerebral infarction by 12%, hemorrhagic stroke by 27%, and total risk of stroke by 14%. In another study examining 37,000 Swedish men, it was found that those who consumed at least 1.8 ounces of chocolate per day were 17% less likely to have a stroke than their counterparts who did not do so22. These results are indisputably precursory and further research is required to ascertain the neuroprotective of the flavanols in cocoa products, but there is considerable potential for some significant health benefits.

Effect of Chocolate Components on Consumers

Elderly individuals with mild to moderate cognitive impairment, in particular, experience the most manifest effects of cocoa flavanol consumption. In a study examining cognitive function in response to cocoa flavanols, 90 elderly people with mild cognitive impairment were randomly grouped into one of three groups—a high flavanol group, who drank roughly 990 milligrams of cocoa flavanols per day for 8 weeks; an intermediate flavanol group (520 milligrams); and a low flavanol group (45 milligrams). When given two separate Trail Making Tests, the high and intermediate flavanols finished significantly faster than the low flavanol group. Verbal fluency test scores were also markedly better in the group given the highest flavanol concentration compared to their two counterparts17. This is likely an effect of the aforementioned increase in cerebral blood flow, but the data is significant in that it suggests that regular cocoa flavanol consumption can have a promising role in treating or slowing down the progression of cerebrovascular ischemic syndromes, such as dementia and stroke.

An individual’s memory is also improved through the consumption of cocoa enriched by flavonoids, which have a significant effect on cerebral blood flow. For brain function to be at its optimum level, cerebral blood flow must be maintained in order to aid in the unabating supplying of oxygen and glucose to neurons8. Increased blood flow to gray matter in the brain and other changes to regional blood flow in response to chocolate have been exhibited in fMRI studies. This fosters the growth of new blood vessels—angiogenesis– and of new nerve cells in the hippocampus, an essential region for memory processing. Epicatechin, an isomer of catechin, (fig. 5) triggers extracellular signal regulated kinase and cyclic AMP response element binding protein (CREB) (fig. 6) activation in cortical neurons, thereby augmenting the degree of CREB-regulated gene expression that is involved in the genesis of long-term memory3. Flavanols also enhance memory by interacting with several cell signaling pathways, most notably mitogen-activated protein, extracellular-signal-regulated, and phosphoinositide 3-kinase signaling cascades. These signaling cascades initiate gene expression and synthesis of proteins that are critical for prolonging long-term potentiation12, a key factor in the retention of memories.

There is also growing evidence to underpin the psychoactive effects of the flavanols and methylxanthine compounds that are present in cocoa products. The effects of cocoa flavanols on cognitive performance, anxiety, and mental fatigue through extended periods of mental demand were tested in a study on 30 individuals. The control group was given a beverage with 46 milligrams of total flavanols, while the experimental groups were given 520 or 994 milligrams. Both experimental groups exhibited notably elevated cognitive performance and diminished mental fatigue in comparison to the control group4. The exact mechanisms that underlie these effects remain unknown, but presumably, they may be associated with cocoa flavanols’ aforementioned effects on blood flow.

Cocoa also contains theobromine, a methylxanthine compound, that is present in chocolate at about 2-3% by weight. It is found in differing amounts in coffee, tea, and kola nuts, but chocolate is the most plenteous known source of it5. Theobromine has antioxidant activity that parallels that of caffeine with only slightly less stimulating effects on the central nervous system3 as a result of the missing methyl group in theobromine (fig. 7). While caffeine and theobromine are similar in the sense that they are both methylxanthines, the degree of their physiological effect differs, presumably because of the different half-lives—theobromine has a much longer half-life than caffeine13. The primary mechanisms of its effect on mood and alertness are its ability to inhibit phosphodiesterases and block adenosine receptors. Adenosine is an intermediate metabolite and a neuroregulatory messenger molecule of the central nervous system. The physiology of the brain is contingent upon deviations in adenosine concentrations, which impact adenosine receptors inside the neurons. The blockage of the specific receptors is what allows for the energy boost typically associated with caffeine and theobromine consumption, making them antagonists of adenosine receptors13. This underscores how chocolate’s perceived ability to boost mood has a scientific basis.

Chocolate’s effects on the human brain can be attributed to the multitude of psychoactive compounds—namely serotonin, anandamides, and phenylethylamine– present. Serotonin (fig. 8a) is a neurotransmitter responsible for controlling mood and the substance behind chocolate’s perceived antidepressant effect1. Anandamides (fig. 8b) are endogenous cannabinoids produced naturally in the brain at very limited quantities. They stimulate and expand synapses in the brain, which facilitates the transmission of brain waves associated with positive emotion5, with “anand” translating to “bliss” in Sanskrit, thus making the eater feel momentarily happier and more energized. When produced naturally in the brain, anandamides are broken down rapidly so its effects are often not felt9. Certain chemicals in chocolate, however, have been shown to slow down the rate of anandamide breakdown, which allows its effects to be recognized. Phenylethylamines (fig. 8c) are neurotransmitters with a stimulant effect that are accountable for feelings of pleasure1. These three neurotransmitters work in conjunction to create the short-lived feelings of satisfaction and contentment in consumers, demonstrating how the emotions associated with eating chocolate can be boiled down to its chemical structure.

Aside from benefits to the brain and central nervous system, elements of cocoa structure can have distinctive effects on overall physiological function, aiding in the lowering of blood pressure, reduction in blood clots, and an increase in good cholesterol. The cardioprotective effects of flavonoids can be attributed to a series of properties, such as antioxidant and antiplatelet activity, immunoregulatory properties, and beneficial effects on the endothelium, or the inner cell lining of blood vessels. Flavanols have consistently been shown to enhance nitric oxide production in the endothelium, which improves blood flow by relaxing the blood vessels and subsequently lowering blood pressure6. Epicatechins improve vascular function, reduce blood pressure, improve insulin sensitivity, and reduce platelet activity3. In a study examining the effect of cocoa flavanol consumption and blood pressure, subjects with untreated essential hypertension received 6.3 grams of dark chocolate daily for 18 weeks. Over that time, researchers observed dependable and notable drops in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure11. Cholesterol is also affected by the flavanols in dark chocolate. In a study by researchers at Harvard University, dark chocolate was found to elicit a small decrease in LDL cholesterol and a significant jump in HDL cholesterol6. Cocoa flavanols have also been found to preclude blood clotting by moderating eicosanoid synthesis in endothelial cells. Eicosanoids perform similar to hormones, but they are lipid compounds. Eicosanoids significant to flavanols are prostacyclin (fig. 9a), which impedes blood clotting, and leukotrienes C4, D4, and E4 (fig. 9b), which play a role in vasoconstriction and inflammation. The flavanols present in cocoa have been found to induce a 32% increase in the levels of prostacyclin and 29% decrease in the levels of leukotriene18, 21. Hypothetically, this favorable ratio between the different eicosanoids should lead to the inhibition of blood clotting and a dramatic reduction in inflammation.

Dark Chocolate vs Overprocessed Chocolate

Human metabolism is affected by dark chocolate. In a 2009 study, consuming 40 grams of dark chocolate daily for an extended period of time was found to reduce the urinary excretion of cortisol and catecholamines. It also normalized differences related to stress in energy metabolism and activities in the gut microbiome. This provides compelling evidence that dark chocolate consumption is capable of modifying the metabolic capabilities of healthy humans by creating variations in their host and gut microbial metabolisms23.

The risk of developing cardiovascular disorders can also be mitigated through the consumption of flavanols. Psychosocial stress is a major risk factor in the promotion of cardiovascular diseases because the body’s hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis and sympathetic nervous system stress responses are induced more rapidly in times of heightened anxiety20. This takes a massive toll on the heart and can eventually lead to a higher risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. Numerous animal studies, however, have shown that the administration of flavonoids could potentially protect from the unpropitious effects of stress by reducing the degree of the previously mentioned stress responses20. These findings, among others, indicate how flavanols play key roles in supporting many somatic functions to varying degrees in several different parts of the human body.

It is paramount to note that all of the aforementioned benefits likely cannot be extrapolated to chocolates with high sugar contents and excessive processing. The total flavanol concentration hinges on how the cocoa was handled post-harvest and what processing techniques were implemented. Cocoa powder that is alkali-processed is depleted of a majority of its flavanol content16. While a plethora of findings imply a cogent link between dark chocolate consumption and neurological and physiological benefits, these advantages can quickly be outweighed by the low nutritional values of many chocolates on the market today. These findings are also not justification to eat a diet composed solely or primarily of cocoa products, but rather an indication that, in moderation, chocolate—a food that people have deemed indubitably detrimental to individual health– can actually be quite the opposite and possess a growing list of neurological, psychological, and physiological advantages.

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