Happiness is One Rich and Delicious Bite Away

After years of perfecting the heavenly piece of chocolate, something good has come out of the “unhealthy” snack: it brings happiness and comfort.


Sitwat Mian

John Hopkins Medicine finds that chocolate is proven to enhance athletic performance, improve brain function, and provide energy throughout your day. However, this is only the case when it is eaten in reasonable amounts.

Aline Gonzalez and Sitwat Mian

Chocolate. We’ve always been told that it’s unhealthy, but what if it isn’t? Research has shown that the delicious treat carries a lot of health benefits, along with its calories. Eaten in reasonable amounts, it can be beneficial to a person’s physical and mental health.

While there are doubts about chocolate helping, freshman Pranavi Pandrangi has found comfort in eating the food for a long time. “Even when I’m having a bad day, it makes me feel a hundred percent better,” Pandrangi said.

How is it made? Where does it come from?

Chocolate comes from the Theobroma cacao tree. This tree carries many health benefits, especially for the heart. It is native to the Central and South American region, but Africa is home to about 70% of the world’s cacao.

Cacao pods are considered ripe when they turn a yellow or orange color. Once they reach this point, they are chopped off the cacao tree and cut open so their seeds can be removed. Once the seeds are cleaned and fermented, they are left to dry on wooden boards or bamboo mats for one or two weeks under the sun. Next, the beans are graded (organized) and shipped to a chocolate factory or maker. To acquire desired qualities, beans can be blended with those of other origins and estates. Next, beans will be roasted at low temperatures, and the shell of the bean is separated from the nib, also known as the “meat.” The nibs are finely ground turning into cocoa mass, commonly known as “cocoa liquor.” Depending on the type of chocolate you are making, cocoa mass, cocoa butter, sugar, and milk powder may be added. For gourmet chocolate, the raw chocolate will go through a process called “conching.” This process consists of rolling, kneading, heating, and aeration. Finally, the chocolate is ready to be shipped to the chocolatier. 

Even without learning where it came from, connoisseurs of chocolate, like sophomore Riya Ghoghari, know that it definitely has a wide variety. S “You can put it in anything, hot chocolate, with fruits, in sandwiches, coffee or anything. It also has many different versions with different tastes and uses,” Ghoghari said.

Whether it’s from the tree, pod, or plant, there are hundreds of variations on the way chocolate is made. Sophomore Riya Ghoghari finds dark chocolate to be the best. “I love the bitter taste of dark chocolate and Kit-Kats,” Ghoghari said. ‘I usually find plain milk chocolates to be too sweet and overwhelming, but the bitterness of dark chocolate balances out the sweetness.” (Aline Gonzalez)

Chocolate and Health

According to John Hopkins Medicine, Dark chocolate has many benefits to a person’s physical health. It is known to increase heart health, balance the immune system, improve brain function, and ironically, combat diabetes. It can also boost athletic performance and reduce stress.

CNN also states that “cocoa raises serotonin levels in the brain.” Other studies have suggested that chocolate can lower cholesterol levels and prevent memory loss. 

In 2014, a study showed that a woman who correlated chocolate cake with celebration had more successful weight maintenance than a woman who associated chocolate cake with guilt. Women that connected the cake to guilt had problems, such as unhealthy eating behaviors, loss of control, feelings of helplessness, greater body dissatisfaction, and many more.

But even after chocolate affects views, it can still make people feel better about themselves. Freshman Amanda Flores has found that she always feels better after having a taste of chocolate. “I feel amazing after eating chocolate,” Flores said. “It’s very much like a comfort food so eating chocolate makes me very happy.”

Chocolate is known to have high levels of calories and sugar, so even though it carries a lot of health benefits, it is important to watch your intake, as it carries a lot of disadvantages, such as weight gain and diabetes. 

Chocolate can be delicious and healthy, when consuming the right amount,  so next time you are worried about all the negatives it could bring, focus on how it helps you and how it makes you feel.