Chocolate ? “Food of the Gods”
Gift of the Rainforest
By Joy Taylor, BA, LMT
For centuries chocolate has received adoring attention. The plant’s botanical name, Theobroma cacao, literally means “food of the gods” and many people would agree. It has provided pleasure, health, and wealth in the Rainforest regions for millennia. The recorded history of chocolate dates back 3000 years to the Olmec Indians who cultivated the tree for its medicinal properties. Later the Mayans (A.D. 450-500) created a foamy liquid of chocolate and served it as a delicacy. The Aztecs (A.D. 1500) used the valuable cacao bean (chocolate) as a form of currency. And by A.D. 1544, chocolate reached the Old World as a gift from the Kekchi Maya of Guatemala to the Spanish court. From there its popularity spread throughout Europe and Asia.
Chocolate has a history as rich as its taste. It is a pleasure of the earth, an experience like nothing else, and a total delight! Science shows us that the flavor is a natural elixir of 1,200 different substances where none dominate but rather synergistically create the original and unduplicative taste. So is chocolate healthy? According to Healthcentral.com, high-quality organic dark chocolate may indeed have solid physiological benefits. The polyphenols, procyanidins and catrechins appear to have antioxidant properties that may reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes and cancer. UC Davis scientists report, “Regular intake of cocoa may contribute to a lower thrombotic (blood clot) risk.” Consumption of quality cocoa, rich in flavonoids, may be associated with the modulation of nitric oxide, a compound critical for supporting healthy blood pressure, opening up the arteries to increase blood flow, maintaining elasticity and preventing platelets from adhering to artery walls.1
In addition, chocolate may reduce oxidation of dangerous LDL cholesterol. In moderation it has been shown in a study to increase longevity2 and we all know the active mood-altering effects of this favorite treat. It acts as a mild aphrodisiac as well as helps fight depression. Scientists at the Neurosciences Institute in San Diego discovered that biologically active ingredients of chocolate also target a substance in the brain known to produce an “internal bliss,” one of the most common reasons for eating chocolate.3
And there’s good news for women. The high magnesium content in cocoa has been shown to help with premenstrual symptoms, justifying the natural craving for chocolate at that time.
But not all chocolate is created equal. In today’s chocolate market only two-tenths of one percent of the chocolates out there are organic. Most mass-processed chocolates combine refined sugars, artificial flavors and cheap high cholesterol polyunsaturated fats and hydrogenated oils. Their final product is 10 to 20 percent authentic and mostly a “chocolate-filled” product which is much higher in fat, calories and unnatural, unhealthy additives.
In comparison, pure organic premium chocolate is typically 50 to 70 percent cocoa solids and contains natural sugar, and no vegetable oil. Therefore it has fewer calories and more health benefits.
The Next Step in Chocolate ? Energized with Rainforest Herbs
Recently the Amazon Herb Company introduced a new chocolate product, ChocaMacaTM. Energizing organically-grown dark chocolate with wild-crafted Rainforest Herbs, this tasty treat goes the next step in offering a healthy chocolate indulgence.
ChocaMacaTM contains Maca (known as Peruvian Ginseng) and Kiwicha, two traditional staples of the ancient Incan Empire. Aqua nutrients are also blended into the ChocaMacaTM including fresh water Blue-Green Algae and marine Fucas harvested wild off the coast of Brazil.
Other Rainforest botanicals; Jatoba, Catuaba, Suma, Camu Camu and Muira Puama are all part of the rich exotic Choca-MacaTM experience. This, I believe is the healthiest and most natural chocolate product available to date. Not only can you enjoy it guilt-free, (knowing it is only 30 calories and healthy) you can feel good about your chocolate habit because each bite contributes directly to Rain-forest preservation.
“Chocolate may indeed be a matter of profound importance, if we can consume it in a way that will benefit the forests,” reports World Watch Magazine. In its feature article entitled, “Growing Cocoa to Regenerate Rainforest”, the magazine states, “Chocolate owes its origin to the tropical rainforest, the richest ecosystem type on earth in terms of species diversity... (Cocoa’s) shade tolerance is a promising asset…Cocoa can supply an economic rationale for preserving tropical forest canopy.”
What the Amazon Herb Company’s ChocaMacaTM has to offer is profound in terms of contributing to Rainforest preservation. “We work directly with 14 different indigenous communities in the Amazon,” explains Amazon Herb Company President and founder, John Easterling. “We ecologically and sustainably harvest the herbs that we use in ChocaMacaTM and all the Amazon Herb Products.
“The organic cocoa in Choca-MacaTM is collected in South America and the Caribbean as part of an Eco-Trade program that pays farmers a premium price, supporting the farmers’ communities and encouraging sustainable organic agriculture.
“We have ecological economics at work,” adds Easterling. “When someone consumes these products, they are helping to make the Rainforest more valuable alive than dead.
This is the Good News from the Amazon!
“We are working hands-on with the communities in the Rainforest and directly providing real assets and benefits there,” emphasizes Easterling. “In many cases, we have helped them secure the rights and deeds to their land and they are able to throw the lumber companies off. Harvesting their wild plants in partnership with us provides a new source of income for them and re-establishes the infrastructure and integrity of the Rainforest communities. Where we are working, the Rainforest is pristine.”
Next time you indulge yourself with chocolate, look for organic, dark chocolate that contributes to rainforest preservation. Or call for your free sample of Choca-MacaTM.
For more information on ChocaMacaTM, Rainforest preservation, or Amazon Herb formulas, please contact (800) 362-3975. www.amazonprosperity.com
1 nutraingredients.com/news (Brigham and Womens Hospital and Harvard
2 Healthcentral.com/peoplespharmacy (Harvard University Graduates)
3 Healthcentral.com/peoplespharmacy (Neurosciences Institute in San Diego)
4 Well Being Journal, September/October 2002
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