I recently attended a cultural event celebrating chocolate at the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) in Washington, DC.
The Power of Chocolate was a two-day festival (March 28-29) relating to the history of chocolate. Much of the event focused on how the Maya, Aztec, and other indigenous people used chocolate.
This NMAI event was held with the support of the Historic Division of Mars, Incorporated (Mars).
My wife and I attended the second day of the festival. We both enjoyed the event and found it informative. There were information booths, samples, demonstrations, and a musical performance.
A very nice lady at one of the information stands explained how chocolate is made from the cacao tree. She also discussed the importance of chocolate to the indigenous Aztec and Mazatec people of Mexico. Chocolate was viewed as very special, and it was only consumed by the elite.
We learned that the cacao trees grew mostly in the southern part of Mexico. The Mazatec people in the south grew cacao and provided it to the Aztecs in the north.
I was particularly interested in going to this event, because my wife really likes chocolate and I have been generally fascinated by the reported health benefits associated with consuming dark chocolate—and equally as intrigued by how chocolate can be so addictive to some people.
In terms of the health benefits of chocolate, there seems to be a lot of information indicating that it is good for cardiovascular health.
The Mayo Clinic’s website states that “some research has linked chocolate consumption to reduced risks of diabetes, stroke and heart attack,” although the clinic also indicates that more research is warranted.
There might be other benefits from consuming chocolate.
In addition, recent news reports have focused on the claim that dark chocolate might help aging skin. One such news story discussed the claim that a certain type of dark chocolate may make people’s skin appear decades younger.
And, yesterday, it was reported that dark chocolate may help people lower their blood pressure, sleep better, and accelerate weight loss.
Perhaps chocolate really is powerful.