Chocolates has been one of the most craved food of all time. This food has been dated in history since three thousand years ago. For chocolate to become a sweet and present in the candy, junk food section in grocery stores. It has once been a sacred food for God that was presented in ritual sacrifice and a currency. After being available in Europe, it was an enjoyable drink that represent the social status and authority with history of ancient medical uses. Right now, chocolate becomes readily available to anyone living in developed countries, but its value has been dramatically decreased into guilty pleasures in daily lives.
Human is born with specific preferences in food taste especially in sweet and salty1 where chocolate has been categorized as sweets which is produced to provide the satisfying sensation for people to enjoy. They are so easy to get, and we can see them everywhere we go, in grocery stores, convenience stores, even in dental offices. As good as it could taste, there are also as much side effects and consequences with overconsumption.
So many researches, books out there saying we should avoid sweets as they are evil calorie-dense foods does not only make you gain weight, and they are even harmful to your health as well. There are uncountable health problems correlated with the consumption of sweets, from a light tooth decay to diabetes and obesity problems
However, the benefits of chocolate consumption have been masked by the added sugar and fats. There were record from the history saying that chocolate was so expensive because it was a tasty medicine that can improve health. The use of chocolate should be revalued, and the benefits should be emphasized instead of concealing it with an unhealthy image.
The use of chocolate as ritual food for God can be dated back to the Mesoamerican civilizations over 3000 years ago. Its origin traced back into the Mayan and Mexica religion’s creation stories. Mayans celebrated an annual festival to their religion in April. The sacrifice ritual included cacao, a dog with cacao markings, animal sacrifice and presents to God. On the other hand, the religion of Mexica was being offered cacao with priests’ blood from their earlobes for sacrifice. Back then, Cacao, the raw major material of chocolate, was being considered as the food to sustain life, wealth, and the social status of a person.
The first documented use of chocolate was presented in a hot drink, mixed with other spices and prepared only for the sacred. At the very beginning of cacao being served as food, it was only prepared for the adults that were in the highest authority in the society such as priest, nobilities, governmental officers, and the victims of a ritual sacrifice, therefore, women and children would never have an opportunity to be served at that time.
Cacao had been brought to Europe by Columbus and his crew found cacao might be valuable as it was being used as a currency in Mesoamerica. However, it was not being spread around Europe until a Spanish conquistador, Hernán Cortés brought cacao beans to Spain and being prepared as a drink called “brown gold”. As there was only a very small amount available, it had been very expensive and exclusively consumed by the high authorities for showing their social status.
After having chocolate to be more available to European countries, it was soon be used in medications to improve weight gaining, cognitive stimulation and digestive problems in 1631 in Spain. Today, dark chocolate has been proved to provide optimal health in human beings by cocoa polyphenols and its effects on anti-aging, cognitive function, and cardiovascular diseases.
In this paper, different research studies on chocolate and cocoa consumption, with their focus on brain health and the effects of chocolate in human and animal cognitive function will be reviewed and evaluated to reveal chocolate consumption is effective for enhancing cognitive functioning and overall brain health.