Top 5 Health Benefits To Celebrate World Chocolate Day!
World Chocolate Day is celebrated annually on July 7th. To celebrate this year, we’ve rounded up the five top health benefits of chocolate from leading nutritionist Cassandra Barns.
One of the features that makes cacao so special is its amazing mineral content. But why is this so important?
Cassandra comments: “Despite our best efforts, it can be difficult for many of us to make sure we’re getting enough of the minerals we need from our normal daily diet. Even if we focus on eating whole foods and plenty of veggies, depletion of minerals from our soils can lead to deficiencies, especially in magnesium. Cacao is rich in magnesium, which supports energy, muscle relaxation and bone strength. It’s also a good source of other minerals such as iron and potassium.”
It’s a natural energy booster
“Cacao contains a small amount of caffeine, as well as a compound called theobromine, which has a mild stimulating and energising effect. So having a few pieces of raw chocolate can be a great afternoon pick-me-up without the over-stimulation and jittery feeling you can get from coffee. But what makes cacao the real energy superstar is its high magnesium content: magnesium is essential for your body to make energy, and many of us don’t get enough of it in our daily diet. What’s more, whereas standard chocolate bars can be high in refined sugar that’s quickly absorbed.
Chocolate stimulates Endorphin production within the body as well as containing the natural anti-depressant Serotonin and Phenylethylamine – the same chemical your brain produces when falling in love!
Lowers blood pressure:
According to the Journal of Nutrition, studies found that chocolate containing high levels of antioxidant rich flavanols were effective in reduced insulin levels and improved blood pressure. Cassandra says: “Cacao is high in magnesium, which helps to calm the nervous system, and contains a natural chemical called phenylethlamine (PEA) that’s associated with good mood. So, for the best stress-busting effects, go for a high-cacao, lower-sugar dark chocolate.”
Protects against sun damage:
“Eating flavanol-rich chocolate has been found to help protect our skin against sun damage, as well as improve circulation to the skin, increase skin hydration and reduce roughness and scaling.” So load up on any of Ombar’s vegan chocolates before you head out into the summer sun!
Ombar is a range of deliciously tasting chocolate made from raw Ecuadorian cacao that’s also dairy free, gluten free and free from refined sugar chocolate. Available in both bars and buttons, the tasty treat is packed full of flavanols and antioxidants, so it’s chocolate that you can feel good about! RRP £2.99 (70g bar), Waitrose stores nationwide.