NEWSAHOOT

Chocolate for Kids - Beneficial or Harmful

Sumita Bose   •   19 December, 2022   •   3 mins

These days, many parents are reluctant to give chocolates to their children. This is because of their harmful effects. But chocolates have surprising benefits too! But first, let’s find out a little about how chocolates are made.

Source of chocolates

  • Chocolate is made from cacao beans which are present inside a pod.
  • Each pod contains approximately 40 beans.
  • About 400 beans produce 453.5 grams of chocolate when mixed with sugar, butter/ vegetable oil and milk.

Benefits of eating chocolates for kids:

  1. Increases energy levels - All chocolates contain a certain amount of caffeine which gives an energy boost.
  2. Reduces stress - Chocolates contain a chemical compound called polyphenol which helps in reducing stress.
  3. Improves brain function - A chemical compound called flavanol is present in chocolates that increases blood flow to the brain thereby improving its function.
  4. Source of several minerals like calcium, phosphorous, potassium etc. - Calcium and phosphorous help in building strong bones and teeth. Potassium helps in maintaining muscle contractions, fluid balance and nerve signals.
  5. Protects the heart - Flavanol also works as an antioxidant (a substance that delays or prevents cell damage) and lowers the risk of heart disease.

Thus, eating a moderate quantity of chocolate occasionally is good for kids’ health.

Harmful effects of eating chocolates:

  1. May lead to obesity - Due to the high fat content in chocolate, it can lead to obesity in children.
  2. Can cause tooth cavity and decay - High sugar content can lead to this problem if teeth are not brushed and flossed properly after eating chocolate.
  3. May cause hyperactivity in some children - In some children, high sugar and cocoa have an adverse effect on their behaviour. For example, children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Fun facts about chocolate:

  1. Cacao bean powder is bitter in taste. Sugar is added to it to make chocolates. Cocoa generally refers to the powder of cacao beans.
  2. The melting point of chocolate is below the normal body temperature of a human. That’s why it melts so easily on the tongue!
  3. The average life of cacao trees is more than 99 years. Out of all these years, they only produce usable cacao beans for 25 years.
  4. In the past, cacao beans were used as a currency by the Mayans (people of Central America and Mexico).
  5. White chocolate is technically not chocolate since there is no cacao in it (just as some people argue that vegetarian biryani is not biryani but pulao!)
  6. The largest chocolate bar in the world weighed 5792.5 kg. It was created by Thorntons PLC in Derbyshire, UK and holds a Guinness World Record.
  7. The scientific name of cacao is ‘Theobroma cacao’ which means ‘Food of the God’ in the Greek language.
  8. The first chocolate bar was made in 1847 by Joseph Fry and Sons in Bristol, England.
  9. Ivory Coast, a country in West Africa, is the world’s largest producer of cocoa beans. It produces about 22 lakh tonnes of cacao beans per year.
  10. The world’s largest chocolate museum is situated in Kilchberg, Switzerland. It has a chocolate fountain that is approximately 30 feet tall.

The author, Ms. Sumita Bose, is an award-winning educator with over 25+ years of experience. She has authored content including books on mathematics and science. Her book on autism has been placed in the India Book of Records (2016). She submitted this piece to be published on the Newsahoot Blog.

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