10 Things you didn't know about Chocolate...
We would be lying if chocolate wasn't a favourite here at Nutrition-Rocks... from white chocolate, to 90% dark and every truffle, caramel and torte in between. But what's really good about it is it CAN be enjoyed (even daily if you opt for a little bit of the lower sugar, high cocoa content stuff (70% or above))...
As it's World Chocolate Day (7th July 2017), we thought we would bring you ten fun facts from Lisa Fearon about chocolate that we bet you didn't know...
This list of amazing benefits are only found with 'real' chocolate, still in its unprocessed, raw form which I refer to here as Cacao. Most chocolate in the supermarkets is highly processed, and will have had all natural, active ingredients removed/ destroyed with the heat.
1. It’s a natural Aphrodisiac
It really is! Due to Phenethylamine (PEA), the chemical that we produce in our bodies when we fall in love, and is found in abundance in cacao! Because PEA is heat sensitive, much of the PEA in conventional cooked and processed chocolate is missing. This is why love and chocolate have such a deep connection and Valentines must!
2. #1 source of Magnesium in food!!
Magnesium deficiency causes muscle aches and spasms, poor digestion, anxiety and trouble sleeping. It’s actually involved in over 300 biochemical functions in the body, such as regulating heartbeat rhythms and helping neurotransmitter functions.
3. Highest plant-based source of Iron
Iron is a critical mineral in nutrition, and allows the oxygenation of blood, carrying oxygen in the Haemoglobin to keep our blood healthy.
Cacao contains the highest concentration of antioxidants of any food in the world. These antioxidants include polyphenols, catechins, and epicatechins. (By weight, Cacao has more antioxidants than red wine, blueberries, acai, pomegranates, and goji berries COMBINED!)
5. Fights tooth decay!
Studies show that Cacao is better at preventing tooth cavities then fluoride. No need to flood your body with chemicals when you can have (Real) chocolate to do it for you better!
A study carried out by researchers in Japan found that parts of the cacao bean, the main ingredient of chocolate, eradicates mouth bacteria and tooth decay. They discovered that the 'cocoa' bean husk - the outer part of the bean (which usually goes to waste when chocolate is processed) - has an anti-bacterial effect on the mouth and can fight effectively against plaque and other damaging agents.
6. Allows you to reach deep levels of relaxation similar to hypnosis.
Increasingly for its powerful effects to induce deep states of relaxation and connection to our sub-conscious through the activation of certain parts of the brain. So, it’s not surprising the Mayans would use chocolate as a means to enlightenment.
7. Raw cacao is now very popular as a natural high!
People are using this now as a natural alternative to feel good, energise and dance at sober raves and parties all over the world, such as the infamous Morning Gloryville parties in London. Real 'hot chocolate' is actually a stimulant, and so shouldn't be sending you to sleep as a bedtime drink! Cacao contains Theobromine, which is a more natural, subtle energiser then caffeine.
8. It’s Good for your heart!
Theobromine dilates the cardiovascular system making the heart’s job easier. This is one of the major reasons why cacao is an important part of a heart healthy diet. As well as increasing blood circulation to the brain, and around the body by 30-40%!
9. Has high levels of Chromium
Which is an important trace mineral that helps balance blood sugar and plays a significant role in detoxifying the liver!
10. Natural mood elevator/ anti-depressant.
As mentioned in #1 and #7 it allows the release of our bodies natural ‘Bliss chemicals’, hormones and neuro-transmitters, such as Anandamide, which is released usually during exercise, and has so far only been found in one plant - Cacao! Along with it activating the release of PEA, endorphins, serotonin and also studies showing the release of Dopamine too! Wow!!