Sarah Satti, Rosalyn Kruse, Tanya Rizo, Alexis Earl, Kristy LogginsCOCOA AND CHOCOLATE: CHEMISTRY, BIOCHEMISTRY AND BENEFICIAL BRAIN EFFECTS
Introduction:CacaoCacao is the purest form of chocolate which can be consumed, which means it is raw and much less processed than cocoa powder or chocolate bars. Cacao is thought to be the highest source of antioxidants of all foods and the highest source of magnesium of all foods. It has been used throughout many cultures as health purposes and even used as ahigh trade commodity.CocoaCocoa is the term used to refer to the heated form of cacao which is store bought in the form of cocoa powder.Though cocoa may seem inferior to raw cacao, it’s actually very good for you (and less expensive) if you choose a variety without added sugars and milk fats or oils.Cocoa powder is produced similarly to cacao except cocoa undergoes a higher temperature of heat during processing. Surprisingly, it still retains a large amount of antioxidants in the process and is still excellent for your heart, skin, blood pressure, and even your stress levels.
History of Chocolate:The history of chocolate begins in Mesoamerica. It is known that beverages made from chocolate date back to the 1900 BC. The Aztecs believed cacao seeds were a gift from the god of wisdom and were viewed as valuable and even used as a form of currency. Roughly two-thirds of the world's cocoa is produced in Western AfricaAfter its arrival to Europe in the sixteenth century, sugar was added to it and it became popular throughout society, first among the ruling classes and then among the common people. In the 20th century, chocolate was considered astaple, essential in the rationsof United States soldiers atwar.In the past, chocolate consumption has been associated with conditions such as diabetes, coronaryheart disease, andhypertension.Chocolate has been praised by some experts for its antioxidant content.But with recent studies have suggested chocolate could lower cholesterol levels and prevent memory decline.
Biochemical Precursor Effects●Theobromine, formerly known as xantheose,is a bitter alkaloid of the cacao plant,with the chemical formula C7H8N4O2. It is found in chocolate,as well as in a number of other foods, including the leaves of the tea plant and the kola (or cola) nut. It is classified as a xanthine alkaloid,which also include the similar compounds theophylline and caffeine.The compounds differ in their methylation.
Biochemical Precursor Effects●Theobromine is the primary alkaloid found in cocoa and chocolate. Cocoa