We all like desserts and wish to enjoy them. They elevate our moods and invigorate us. But how did this practice start? What are the importance and benefits of desserts?
A dessert is a sweet course or dish that is served after the main course of food is over. That means it comes after the end of our meal but is the most awaited dish by many.
The word dessert in English comes from the French word desservir. Desservir means ‘to remove what has been provided.
It was in France in 1539 that this term came into use first to imply the food that one eats after the waiters remove the main meal from the table.
Desserts are of different types. But they all are sweet. These include puddings, custards, frozen desserts, cakes, cookies, candies, chocolates, pies, pastries, ice creams, fruit jellies (gelatin or agar), etc.
Certain regional sweet delicacies are eaten at end of food or during celebrations and festivals.
These include pannacotta, tiramisu, chocolate fudge cakes, lemon meringue pie, banoffee pie, strawberry tarts, profiteroles, banana Split, tartofu, blancmange, chocolate gateaux, Pavlova, and the like.
The list is endless. Some of these are filling. Some have more calories, saturated fats, and refined sugars, and could be unhealthy.
In a restaurant or cafe, there is a separate dessert menu. This consists of ice cream, sorbets, smoothies, and some regional or local sweet dishes.
Importance of sweet dish
This sweet dish at the end of the meal is something that most people wait for. They enjoy it and it makes them finish the main meal to have it.
Therefore, this could serve as an incentive for kids who fuss over food. It helps them finish a healthy food dish that otherwise they would have frowned on and left incomplete.
Sweet things stimulate the production of happy hormones in the body. This elevates our mood and makes us happy and satisfied. It provides us with energy. Some people find salty and savory food dishes boring and sweet dish tends to rejuvenate them.
Desserts are considered a course and in luxury restaurants after all the courses including the sweet dish, you get a feeling of satisfaction and contentment of having eaten fully.
While it is not necessary to consume a dessert at the end of a meal, most people like to have a piece of it. It provides them with instant energy due to its sugar content.
And the saturated fats provide them with a filling of fullness that is vital to end eating for that meal.
Whenever anyone wants to lose weight, the first thing that they strike off the list of foods is sugary and sweet things. Though this may be the right step, sweet dishes also have health benefits.
Sweets can help lower blood pressure. Harvard medical school published a study in 2011 that showed that having a small square of dark chocolate every day reduced the blood pressure readings in all the recruits of the study.
Dark or unsweetened chocolate is rich in cocoa. This is rich in antioxidants and flavinoids which have immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory properties. Therefore with lowered blood pressure, cardiovascular risk is also minimized.
Dark chocolates also lower the incidence of strokes. Swedish men aged 45 to 79 were studied.
It was found that those who ate one square of chocolate per day had a 17% less risk of stroke compared to those who did not have it. It satisfies the sugar cravings that all humans have. But do portion control of these sweet foods instead of eliminating them from the diet.
When you make sweets at home, you can reduce the sugar and saturated fat content in them. You can also go for healthier versions of these essential ingredients.
Additionally, you can add some healthy protein to the sweets such as nuts and seeds. Rachel Johnson, Ph.D., chair of the American Heart Association’s (AHA) nutrition committee states:
“Homemade sweets can satisfy your dessert craving in healthier ways,”
Sweets inspire you to do some exercise or make your gym attendance regular. Exercise is always good for the body and mind. Hence you enter a healthy lifestyle when you consciously visit the gym after having a sweet that satisfied your craving for it.
So do not feel guilty about having sweet dishes. But remember to control the portion of it you eat and do exercise after it to help the body metabolize it faster without any ill effects.