This is the perfect time to indulge in a little chocolate therapy! In fact, I love nothing more than sipping on a mug of creamy, home-made Feel Good Hot Chocolate made from guilt-free Naked Chocolat - there’s something incredibly pleasurable about surrendering to some velvety indulgence.
The good news is that you don’t need to feel guilty – you could actually be doing yourself a favour. Research shows that eating nature's chocolate could be good for your immunity and overall wellbeing.
8 HEALTH BENEFITS OF EATING DARK CHOCOLATE
1. IT CAN BOOST YOUR IMMUNITY
The cocoa found in dark chocolate and the phenolic compounds inside the cocoa can strengthen the defences of our immune system and up our body's resistance. Dark chocolate may also be good for a stubborn cough. The Imperial College in London last year found that theobromine, an alkaloid in cocoa, was better at suppressing a cough than codeine.
According to a study published in the US National Institute of Health "cocoa has been revealed as a food with immunoregulatory properties." Cocoa influences the immune system, in particular the inflammatory innate response and the systemic and intestinal adaptive immune response."
2. IT CAN REDUCE YOUR RISK OF CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE
Cocoa is one of the richest sources of antioxidants in the world. According to The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the high flavenoid content of cocoa has been linked to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, such as heart disease and stroke.
3. IT IS FULL OF ESSENTIAL MINERALS
Many of us are so focused on our macronutrients that we often forget about our intake of essential minerals, which can lead to deficiencies.
Healthy Chef Naked Chocolat is made from mineral-rich cocoa, maca, carob, cinnamon and pure vanilla. It's GLUTEN FREE – DAIRY FREE – SUGAR-FRE and the healthy way to indulge + enliven the senses.
Cocoa contains high amounts of essential minerals including magnesium, iron, copper, manganese and riboflavin that assist with improving overall health. For instance, magnesium helps with relaxing blood vessels, improving circulation and blood flow.
4. IT BOOSTS YOUR MOOD
There’s a reason why chocolate is so additive. Cocoa contains theobromine, a substance that increases “feel-good” chemicals called endorphins, providing a pleasurable feeling similar to the natural high after exercise.
Chocolate has even been referred to as the new anti-anxiety solution when a study in the Journal of Psychopharmacology revealed that those who were drinking an antioxidant-rich chocolate drink felt calmer than those who did not.
5. IT CAN HELP PREVENT TYPE-2 DIABETES
Cocoa is also rich in polyphenols, an antioxidant that has been linked to improved insulin sensitivity and glucose regulation. According to The Journal of Nutrition, foods high in polyphenols can play a protective role against type 2 diabetes. This is because polyphenols have been shown to have an anti-diabetic effect by inhibiting glucose absorption in the gut or of its uptake in tissues.
6. IT CAN ENHANCE SPORT PERFORMANCE
Cocoa is rich in magnesium and antioxidants that assist with muscle repair and recovery. So if you’re looking for the perfect recovery drink, look no further than my much-loved chocolate milk that’s bursting with antioxidants and essential minerals.
Naked Chocolat is also rich cacao, carob, maca, cinnamon and pure vanilla bean – ingredients that help to provide sustained energy and to support the endocrine and immune systems.
Need a bit of muscle magic? Again, cocoa is high in magnesium that helps with bone mineralisation, muscle contraction and calms sensitivity to pain, so it's great for improved muscle and nerve function.
7. IT CAN LOWER BLOOD PRESSURE
Studies show that dark chocolate consumption is correlated to lower blood pressure readings. The flavonoids in cocoa can help to increase nitric oxide production, which helps open up the blood vessels and allows more oxygen flow as well as lower blood pressure.
8. CHOCOLATE IS GOOD FOR STRESS - AND THESE ARE STRESSFUL TIMES!
Cocoa is rich in a compound called resveratrol, the same that's found in red wine. Resveretrol helps to control inflammation and protects your brain as well as calm the nervous system.
Research also suggests that resveratrol can support mental health by increasing the brain’s production of endorphins, also known as natural opiates, and serotonin, a mood-altering chemical targeted by antidepressants.