Cacao or Chocolate is probably one of the best-loved superfoods out there. Yes, chocolate can be a superfood. That is because chocolate comes with a whole host of surprising health benefits. What do you know about healthy chocolate?
The cacao beans in the chocolate are really where all the benefits come from, and cacao contains chemicals such as theobromine and flavonoids that help keep us healthy and promote longevity. However, before you go and indulge in your favorite candy bar, listen to this. The stuff added in chocolate to make it sweet, like vegetable oils, GMO soy lecithin, milk, and sugar, are way less than excellent for the body. If one is going to partake in chocolate, it should be organic, contain 50% or more cacao, contain no commercial dairy products, and no commercial sugar.
Here are the amazing health benefits of chocolate!
1. Heart Health
According to a Swedish study, women who ate two helpings of dark chocolate a week had fewer heart problems. Also, chocolate is known to reduce strokes and blood pressure as well as the incidences of heart attacks.
2. Helps with Weight Loss
Dark chocolate helps a person feel fuller compared to light chocolates because it contains more magnesium that shuts off the appestat (your inner appetite gauge). Thus, it is the perfect treat for those wanting to lose some weight. This is why almost any “diet” contains chocolate: it is a long-known appetite suppressant. However, just eating dark chocolate will not shed pounds. Exercising is still necessary.
3. Fight Adult Onset Diabetes
You heard that right! Chocolate consumption can help fight diabetes. Unsweetened raw cacao or raw chocolate contains the nutrients (magnesium, chromium, iron, zinc, copper, saturated and monounsaturated ketogenic oils, as well as flavan-3-ols (flavonoids) necessary to maintain energy over extended periods of time without one’s energy crashing. An Italian study showed that regularly consuming chocolate increased a person’s sensitivity to insulin that reduced their chances of developing adult onset diabetes.
4. Protects the Skin
Because of the fat-soluble antioxidants found in the oils of dark chocolate, it is excellent for protecting one’s skin from the sun. Raw cacao butter (cold-pressed chocolate oil) has an SPF of about 3. This may not be strong enough for you to ditch the sunscreen, but then again, if you mix raw cacao butter with some coconut oil and spirulina and use that topically, it might be strong enough!
5. Lower Stress Levels
We probably didn’t need to tell you about this one, but it has been scientifically proven. Swiss scientists have found that eating dark chocolate twice a week significantly reduces stress levels. Chocolate is an excellent source of anti-depressant phenethylamine (PEA) molecules. Also, chocolate nourishes the brain with the endorphin anandamide and helps keep natural endorphins in your blood longer with its anandamide reuptake inhibitors.
6. Cough Cure
The theobromine found in dark chocolate acts as a natural cough suppressant according to some sources. Theobromine minimizes activity in the vagus nerve that is responsible for persistent coughs. For the same reason, chocolate has been shown to be three times more effective than asthma medications.
7. Intelligence Boost
Dark chocolate with high levels of flavanols (aka. flavan-3-ols) and theobromine helps increase blood flow into and out of the brain and reduce stress. This makes a person better able to focus, problem solve, and stay on task. Feeling bogged down? Have some dark chocolate.
8. Mood Lift and Stress Reduction
The phenethylamines, endorphins (anandamide), and magnesium in chocolate are all natural mood lifters because they reduce the stress response. There are even chocolates designed to help control stress with special super nutrients like Xanthohumol such as Sacred Chocolate’s Longevity Bliss.
9. Increases Blood Flow
The reason cacao is good for the heart is because of its natural blood thinning and anti-blood clotting properties. It helps a person’s blood move throughout the body easier and also contributes to building healthy blood.
All the people out there who say obsessing over chocolate is wrong can now be ignored. It is not like we were listening to them anyway. Add the perfect amount of cacao and chocolate to your diet to gain the edge that only chocolate provides. Now everyone has plenty of good reasons to eat chocolate.
Caution: Cacao is a stimulating, nutritious, and neurologically active superfood, and over the long-term, consideration should be taken from the way David Avocado Wolfe recommends that any stimulants be taken. With anti-stimulants such as reishi mushroom tea or extracts, Chaga mushroom tea or extracts, mucuna powder, he shou wu (fo-ti) tea, and/or sea salt.