As well as tasting delicious, did you know that cacao and chocolate products containing a high percentage of cacao can positively influence your mood? Yep, if you needed more reasons to reach for a hot chocolate, here they are!
- Cacao contains naturally occurring phytochemicals such as theobromine. Theobromine is an alkaloid which increases alertness, and improves blood flow. Improved blood flow means enhanced delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the brain and around the body, consequently improving mood, energy levels and cognitive performance. Theobromine is also considered an aphrodisiac, for added bonus.
- Cacao also naturally contains a compound known as Phenylethylamine. It increases focus and alertness, and is produced in our bodies when we fall in love.
- Anandamide is another feel-good substance found in cacao and is known as the ‘bliss’ chemical. Anandamide increases feelings of wellbeing and happiness. The name anadamide comes from the Sanskrit term for joy and bliss due to the sensations of wellbeing it produces.
- Cacao stimulates the release of endorphins which naturally lift our mood and make us feel good.
- Cacao is rich in magnesium which is a mineral with important effects on our nervous system, inducing relaxation and the relaxation of tense muscles. Magnesium is a natural relaxant and since it is useful for muscle spasms, this can be why chocolate is craved by women pre-menstrually.
- Cacao is a rich source of antioxidants and flavonoids. The boost of antioxidants and flavonoids from chocolate products containing a high cacao percentage will help to improve mood, due to their anti-inflammatory properties.
Of course in order to reap the above benefits of hot chocolate, it needs to be of high quality, minimally processed and contain a high percentage of cacao. So to conclude, we all need more chocolate in our lives. Go forth and consume copious cups of Nib and Noble hot chocolate, safe in the knowledge that it is doing wonders for your mood!