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4 Surprising Health Benefits of Eating Chocolate

chocolate

Chocolate is one of those affordable treats that tastes awesome. But did you know it is packed with magnesium and has many health benefits?

We chatted with Dr Tal Friedman, Head of Naturopathic and Research and Development at Chiva-Som International Health Resort. He talks about the surprising health benefits of eating chocolate:

“Chocolate is arguably one of the most craved foods in the world, and for good reason. It delivers not only a variety of wonderful aromas, flavours and textures, but it also delivers some astounding health benefits such as improved mood and focus and more.”

“Cocoa comes from roasted cacao seeds and is high in plant compounds which have been shown in studies a wide variety of health benefits.”

Enhanced Cognitive Function

“Chocolate, through its polyphenol content, may be able to help enhance blood flow by enhancing nitric oxide signalling. The polyphenols act on an enzyme that works by increasing nitric oxide output within blood vessels. This helps to relax blood vessels thus allowing for better blood flow. This enhanced blood flow has even been shown to potentially enhance cognitive function by increasing blood flow and oxygenation within the brain.”

Improve Cardiovascular function

“In addition to cocoa’s beneficial effects on blood flow, Chocamine’s polyphenol content may also help promote healthy levels of cholesterol. By promoting healthy cholesterol levels, Chocamine may be able to further help promote overall cardiovascular function.”

Boosts focus and serotonin

“Cocoa also contains some minor compounds which have been found to act on neurological systems in our brains. Cacao stimulates the release of phenylethylamine (PEA) which boosts focus and awareness. It can also stimulate the release of anandamide which helps you feel good. Cacao is a source of tryptophan which is the precursor to serotonin.”

Activates anandamide

“If we look back to some of the first uses of cocoa, it was often combined and consumed with chili peppers and vanilla beans. Surely some of this is to make it even more delicious, but it is now also believed that they can boost the mood-enhancing effects of cocoa. Research has shown that the active compound in chili peppers and the active compound in vanilla both act on receptors in the brain increasing the effects of anandamide. Combining this with cocoa makes for an interesting and spicy cocoa beverage that may help you feel great.”

Quality over candy

“But keep in mind that all these benefits are not true for all chocolate out there. Most chocolate is made by adding sugar, milk, and other ingredients to cocoa powder. Those ingredients can counteract a good amount cocoa’s health benefit. The reality is that good quality cocoa can be a supremely healthy delicious treat. But the high sugar, high calorie chocolate bars that contain it are just candy most of the time.”

Thank you, Dr. Tal Friedman ND.

About Chiva-Som International Health Resort

For more than 25 years, the company behind the award-winning Chiva-Som has been a pioneer in transformative wellness practices to global acclaim. Its commitment to an innovative, holistic approach which expertly balances mind, body and spirit, continues to this day with its flagship resort in Hua Hin, Thailand and the latest addition to the Chiva-Som family – Zulal Wellness Resort in Khasooma, Qatar.

Optimal, bespoke wellness lies at the heart of each Chiva-Som experience. With its unique synergy of indigenous traditions and evidence-based wellness, Chiva-Som partners with guests on highly personalised wellness journeys focused on complete lifestyle transformation. At the new Zulal Wellness Resort these extend to the entire family. Guests are motivated throughout their journey by knowledgeable and caring staff, who address their goals with the unique heart of Chiva-Som Hospitality.

Chiva-Som’s genuine approach to wellness extends to the wider community, with educational opportunities and global sustainability initiatives at the core of everything the brand does.

For more information about Chiva-Som please visit www.chivasom.com

Written by Emma Crameri

Emma Crameri is a freelance lifestyle reviewer and writer. She is editor of the Brisbane-based food and lifestyle website Brisbanista.

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