ANDERSON, Ind. — Long before Europeans turned chocolate into dessert, the Aztec culture of Mexico and Central America cultivated cacao beans, which they served as a medicinal beverage, noted Randy Good, owner of Goods Candy Shop.
He was reacting to news of a new study examining whether pills packed with the nutrients in dark chocolate can help prevent heart attach and strokes.
"What the average consumer isn't aware of is that chocolate has been medicine longer than it was food for Europeans and Americans," Good explained.
In fact, he said, it was so highly prized eons ago, cacao was used as money.
When first introduced, the drink was gritty and bitter — and sometimes fermented. When Europeans brought it home, they added sugar, and later milk, to make it more palatable.
Good said one of chocolate's benefits is that it makes blood "slicker," meaning the heart doesn't have to pump so hard to move blood through the circulatory system, something this new study and others have shown.
"I'm thinking you take a couple of pills in the morning and eat a couple of candy bars in the afternoon, and you'll never have to call your doctor again," Good said.