The Pros and Cons of Hot Chocolate
Hot chocolate is a drink that is made from cocoa powder, water or milk and sugar. It can be seasoned with cream and spices. There are two types of chocolate:
- «Traditional» hot chocolate which is a creamy dessert that is whipped along with pieces of chocolate, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon. It is a very thick and fatty drink. One glass contains 250 kcal.
- Cocoa which is made from cocoa powder using milk or water and seasoned with sugar. This drink is a very runny and cheap, it is also easy to make and one glass of such drink contains only 30 kcal.
Origin of Hot Chocolate
Aztecs, who inhabited the coast of Mexico, made a paste from cocoa beans, mixed it with water, alcohol and hot peppers. Chocolate was used as a ritual drink.
In the 16th century, Spanish conquerors have brought cocoa beans and its drink’s cooking recipe back home. This delicacy has spread to Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Germany and France. Original recipe has changed: chili was removed from it and drink was complemented with brown sugar and vanilla. People started to drink it hot. They have opened different coffee houses, where this drink was served. The drink was expensive at first, and it was available only for members of a high society. This drink was considered an indicator of a good taste and respectability. It has been used for therapeutic purposes and as a tonic, wound healing and libido-enhancing agent.
Hot chocolate has been prepared in a bowl resembling a teapot with a short spout, lid and a wooden handle. Upper part of this bowl was made in such a way that it would give a drink a foamy consistency. Spoon was used to remove oily sediment from drink. Delicacy was served in small cups and saucers to prevent spilling of any precious drops. English people invented to complement the hot chocolate with a milk, it helped to reduce the cost and make this drink taste nicely.
Democratization of hot chocolate occurred in the 19th century. People learned to obtain sugar from beets and began to complement the beverage with it. In 20s of 19th century, Dutchman Conrad van Houten invented a method for extraction of the cocoa butter and cocoa powder from the cocoa beans. Obtained butter was used to produce hard chocolate while cocoa powder was used to make the liquid goodies which were affordable for common people.
Benefits of Hot Chocolate
Bitter organic chocolate has a range of benefits:
- Cocoa is rich in zinc which ensures proper synthesis of proteins and helps to build DNA and RNA as it contains purines. It ensures normal sexual maturation and wounds healing.
- Melanin protects skin from UV-rays. Hot chocolate should be consumed to prevent sun burns.
- It improves mood and makes one energetic. Phenylethylamine, which is a natural neurotransmitter, raises vitality.
- It has the antioxidant properties, which increase after heating the drink, prevent cancer, problems with heart and blood vessels as well as slow aging and eliminate free radicals.
- Gallic acid helps to stop internal bleeding, it can be used to treat kidney diseases and diabetes. This matter was thoroughly investigated by scientists from Cornell University (USA).
- Flavonoids thin the blood, lower blood pressure and improve blood circulation. Cocoa helps to get rid of parasites, slows down the tumor growth and kills cells infected with viruses.
- Hot chocolate is rich in minerals and vitamins. Drinking a beverage helps to cope with spring beriberi.
- Theobromine calms nerves, which ensure proper functioning of respiratory tract and brain. A cup of hot chocolate will help to get rid of prolonged coughing attack.
- Theanine relieves throat pain due to antibacterial effect cocoa has on human body.
- It contains caffeine, which stimulates brain activity.
- It also helps to stimulate production of endorphins – the hormones of happiness.
- Procyanidins help to heal the wounds and promote skin rejuvenation.
The Ways to Choose Cocoa Powder
Cocoa beans affect the quality of cocoa powder; you should learn the ways to choose them properly.
- There are three types of cocoa: it can be produced industrially using fertilizers to make 99% chocolate, organic cocoa powder, raw cocoa which is made from handpicked cocoa beans which grow in wild nature.
- You should choose the cocoa, which is produced in the country, where the chocolate trees grow. Resellers often violate beans processing technology depriving the product of useful properties.
- Natural cocoa has a brown color and does not contain coloring and flavoring agents as well as it should contain not less than 15% of fats. When grinding the powder between the toes, you should make sure that it doesn’t leave any lumps or flaking. It should not precipitate during brewing process.
Hot Chocolate Recipes
Hot Chocolate Made from Cocoa Powder
Mix cocoa powder (3 tbsp.) with sugar (1 tsp). Pour the mixture into the boiling milk (1 l). Cook mixture over low heat for 3 minutes.
Hot Chocolate Made from Melted Chocolate
Turn dark chocolate (60%) into chips, melt it in a water bath, mix it with warm milk and cream (50/50) and complement with sugar, cinnamon and salt to taste, then heat it up. Season it with spices and cream to taste.
Hot Chocolate Made from Cocoa Beans
Raw beans should be soaked in water for 15 minutes, then you should remove the peel and grate them (15 grams per serving), or use the grinder. Heat the mixture of milk (3/4 cup) and cream (1/4 cup) in a saucepan, dissolve the cocoa crumb in it using corolla or blender and complement it with a sugar.
When applied locally, hot chocolate improves blood circulation, makes skin firm, removes edema and cleans skin pores. Chocolate wraps help to fight cellulite. Here is what you need to make wraps at home: natural cocoa powder (additives free), milk, bandages and food film. Heat a glass of milk to enjoy the warm state, add a glass of cocoa powder, stir it until it has a mushy consistency without lumps. Moisten bandage to apply it to the problem area, put the mixture on it, wrap it around the problem area and put a warm robe on. Rinse the chocolate mass away from your body an hour later.
- Pregnancy. Hot chocolate wrap can cause premature labor.
- Allergies. Discontinue the procedure in case of burning, itching or experiencing any other discomfort. Perform the skin test before wrapping: apply a chocolate mush to the inner side of your wrist and check out for possible skin reaction in half an hour.
- Inflammatory skin processes and wounds.
- Acute hypertension, poor tolerance of high temperatures.
Hot Chocolate in Weight Loss
Low Calorie Dessert
Flavored beverage can make a diet easier and will help to reduce weight. In this case, hot chocolate is made from the low-calorie ingredients: cocoa powder, sugar substitute, skimmed milk (powdered and normal).
Fasting Mono Diet
You can consume 100 g of dark melted chocolate and three cups of unsweetened coffee and water once per week. You can expect to lose up to 0.5 kg of weight without compromising brain activity. People, who want to “seriously” lose weight, should increase duration of such a diet for up to 7 days. A good health is a must in this case.
Dangers of Chocolate
- High levels of purines lead to deposition of salts, problems with the kidneys and urinary tract (exacerbation of cystitis, pyelonephritis).
- Hot chocolate prevents absorption of a calcium, and it negatively affects pregnant woman and unborn babies.
- Allergic people should not consume it.
- It is rich in calories because of the presence of sugar and fat.
- Cocoa beans are subjected to radiological treatment for pest control. When grown in soil, they are complemented with pesticides.
- Delicacy is contraindicated for use by people with diabetes and nervous disorders.
Consumed in moderation, hot chocolate is good for your health and mood. You should choose high-quality ingredients when you are about to prepare this drink and consider your health and other things.