Chocolate with cocoa pod and beans on table.

Sweeten Your Life With These 10 Chocolate Facts

The Latin name for chocolate rightfully translates as “food of the gods.” This delicious treat has been savored in the form of ice cream, drinks, snack bars, and many other desserts. Although its effects on health have been disputed, recent studies actually found that dark chocolate is highly beneficial for our health.

Here are 10 sweet facts about chocolate that will surprise you.

Chocolate Takes Time to Produce

Close up of hands holding cacao beans.
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Although chocolate is readily available today at every store around the corner, the actual production of cocoa for one bar of chocolate can take up to 400-500 beans. Quite a bit of labor, right? This is all the more reason to savor your favorite chocolate snack.

The First Chocolate Treat Was Hot Chocolate

Pouring hot chocolate.
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Cacao was cultivated by the Mayan, Toltec, and Aztec peoples more than 3,000 years ago. The concoction the Aztecs later brewed was a bitter one, used for ceremonial events like weddings.

Cacao Was Used as Currency

Cacao beans in bowls.
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Forget about silver or gold. The Aztecs valued cacao beans so much that it was once used as currency at the peak of their civilization.

Cocoa Is Packed With Antioxidants

Woman eating chocolate.
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According to a 2011 study published in the Antioxid Redox Signal, cocoa is packed with antioxidants, which have amazing health benefits.

“Cacao imparts to chocolate a rich endowment of nutritional properties, from minerals to antioxidants, to vasoactive, and even psychoactive compounds,” the study remarks. So if you’re having some chocolate cravings, treat yourself to some yummy dark chocolate and enjoy the benefits!

The Largest Producer of Chocolate Is Africa

African cacao farmer.
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Cacao originated in Central and South America more than 4,000 years ago, but today, almost 70% of the world’s cacao is cultivated in Africa. Specifically, Cote d’lvoire is the largest producer, assuring nearly 40% of the world’s supply.

Cacao Trees Can Live up to 200 Years

Cacao Trees.
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Cacao trees mature after five years and bear marketable fruit for 25 years. But aside from this, cacao trees can live up to 200 years. These trees produce pods which contain the beans that various chocolate treats are made from, including cocoa butter.

The Swiss Eat the Most Chocolate

Swiss woman eating chocolate.
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Did you know the Swiss consume more chocolate than any other nation? This makes sense, as the Swiss are some of the greatest chocolatiers in the world. Switzerland can consume an average of 22 pounds of chocolate a year per person, followed by Australia and Ireland with 19-20 pounds per person, and the USA with 12 pounds per person.

Dark Chocolate Improves Your Mood

Happy woman eating chocolate.

Why do we often crave chocolate when having a bad day, cramps, or feeling heartbroken over a breakup?

There is some science to this: studies performed by Loma Linda University show that dark chocolate can reduce stress and inflammation and improve mood, memory, and immunity. No wonder chocolate ice cream or a bar of Hershey’s is the first thing we reach for when we want a dopamine boost.

Chocolate Is Associated With Medicinal and Mythical Properties

Chocolate bars with cocoa.
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A curious fact about chocolate is that it has always been associated with medicinal, magical and mythical properties. This is why the Aztecs used it for ceremonial purposes, holding it in great reverence.

Another example is Mexico, Oaxaca, where healers called curanderos use chocolate to treat various illnesses, including bronchitis. Even the Latin name for cacao trees, theobroma cacao, is reminiscent of its perceived magical qualities as it translates to “food of the gods”.

Chocolate Is Celebrated Annually on Multiple Days

banana crepe with chocolate.
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Chocolate is such an adored snack that it has multiple celebrations annually: World Chocolate Day is on July 7th, National Milk Chocolate Day is on July 28th, International Chocolate Day is on September 13th, and National Bittersweet Chocolate With Almonds Day is on November 7.

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Author: S.K. Lumen

Title: Writer

Expertise: women's personal development, mental health, self love

S.K. Lumen is a writer, artist and blogger who is passionate about helping women become their best selves. She writes about personal development, self-love, self-care, wellness & mental health.