Are you planning to enjoy a good time and good chocolate with loved ones today? Here is a little chocolate history for you to share with your people and an easy trick to keep your blood pressure in control when you indulge in a chocolate Valentine’s treat.
Mini Chocolate History
The word “cacao” comes from “kakawa,” which meant “God food” to the Olmec people who lived in what is now Central America between 1500 and 500 B.C. Cacao is the purest form of chocolate you can consume, which means it is raw and much less processed than cocoa powder. Cacao is an antioxidant-rich food—but it is fairly bitter. In the early 16thcentury, Cortez, the Spanish conquistador, tried chocolate—hated it. One of his cronies called it “more a drink for pigs than a drink for humanity”! In the 19th century, “original” milk chocolate; a combination of cocoa (roasted and processed cacao beans), cocoa butter, condensed milk, and sugar, was born. Since then, Chocolate became sweeter, richer, and creamier—until recently. As you know, dark chocolate is made with higher content of cacao than milk chocolate, and various intensities are available now as a “healthier option.” The higher the cacao content, the healthier.
Keep blood pressure in control with Green Tea
Dark chocolate is considered healthy, however, research at Northern Arizona University has found that those who ate 60% chocolate (minimum level of cacao content to count as dark chocolate) did become more alert and more attentive (yes, chocolate contains caffeine—and sugar), but their blood pressure also increased! But don’t worry! The research also found that those who consumed chocolate combined with L-theanine, which is a natural relaxant found exclusively in green tea, experienced an immediate drop in blood pressure. Larry Stevens, a professor of psychological sciences at NAU, said the result was remarkable. “We thought that if chocolate acutely elevates blood pressure, and L-theanine lowers blood pressure, then maybe the L-theanine would counteract the short-term hypertensive effects of chocolate.” “L-theanine is a really fascinating substance that lowers blood pressure and produces what we call alpha waves in the brain that are very calm and peaceful.” Stevens hopes the results of this study will encourage manufacturers to investigate further and consider the health benefits of a chocolate bar made with high-cacao content and the addition of L-theanine. And in the meantime, we have an easy and delicious solution—let’s enjoy SEI MEE TEA, naturally rich in L-theanine, along with quality dark chocolate! Cheers to your healthy heart on this Valentine’s Day!
Related article: Celebrate “WEE” time—Fun facts about relationships
Related article: Benefits of L-Theanine
Popular Green Tea recipes for special occasions:
Matcha Cream Cocktail with Bailey’s
– Mix 1/2 tsp. MATCHA powder well with 1 Tbsp. warm water. Add 1/4 C to 1/2 C cold water to your taste.
– Add ice to the glass and pour Bailey’s to fill the glass.
– Garnish with a sprig of mint, if you like. Makes 1 serving.
Green Tea Cheesecake
– 1/2 cup sugar, 1 Tbsp. MATCHA powder* (Use Ceremonial Grade Matcha for the natural neon green color), 1 envelope (0.25 oz) unflavored gelatin powder, 1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened, 1 cup sour cream, 1 teaspoon vanilla
– Combine sugar, MATCHA powder, and gelatin in a medium bowl. Add boiling water; stir 5 minutes or until gelatin is completely dissolved.
– Beat cream cheese, sour cream, and vanilla in a large bowl with a mixer until blended. Gradually beat in gelatin mixture.
– Pour into five 8oz glasses.
– Refrigerate for 3 hours or until firm. Serve topped with whipped topping, if you wish.
*HOJICHA Cheesecake: Use Hojicha powder instead of MATCHA powder. Substitute 1 cup sour cream with 1 (8 oz) package cream cheese. Stir in 2 Tbsp. maple syrup and 1/4 tsp. Five-spice into gelatin mixture.
Green Tea Ice Cream – The Simplest, Tastiest
– Put 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk, 2 cups heavy cream, 3 Tbsp. Matcha in a bowl, and stir well until matcha powder is well incorporated.
– Using an electric mixer, whip mixture at high speed until soft peaks form.
– Cover tightly and freeze until ready to serve for about 8 hours.
– If it’s too hard to scoop, run the ice cream scooper under some warm water before each scoop. If the container is microwavable, you can microwave ice cream for 5 seconds to soften it up a little.
– Variation 1: Use “Matcha Mint powder” instead of Matcha to make a delicious Matcha Mint Ice Cream. Variation 2: Use “Hojicha Powder” instead of Matcha to make a delicious Hojicha Ice Cream.
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Meet the Author: Kiyomi