My body has been absolutely craving chocolate these past few weeks: smoothies, nibs with coconut nectar, even picking out the carob pieces from my favourite green bars to satisfy my cravings. I happily gave into my cacao desires, knowing that I was doing my body - and mind - a world of good: magnesium for my muscles, dopamine for my brain (yes, the same neurotransmitter secreted when you), and most importantly, a deep fulfilment for my cacao needs. Yes. Needs.
Image via I Quit Sugar
This superfood is rightly justified - but where to start with this wonderful little bean? Well, firstly - it's an absolute powerhouse of micronutrients. One of the highest natural sources of magnesium, it helps us recover from illness, exercise and stress. Yes. Stress. Remember the body experiences psychological and physiological stress the same? So that's why when you have 23135 emails to reply to, a truckload of work and a bombsite of a home, you're body genuinely craves chocolate because it knows that the nutrients will help you cope. Fact. Besides from that, a serving of cacao gives you double your daily needs for manganese: used to make collagen to provide smoothness to your skin, balance out blood sugar levels, produce bones; as well as copper: again helping you maintain smooth skin by assisting collagen production, and a key nutrient for energy production.
The next reason I love cacao is because it is packed full of antioxidants: cleansing your blood, freeing you from toxic chemicals chilling in your blood - no place for your here, buddy. Helping you feel fresh, energised and overall, pretty super - antioxidants are key in mantaining healthy skin, clear eyes, and on a more serious level, reducing the likelihood of cancer and other chronic illnesses.
If this little plant hasn't dazzled you enough with it's nutrient value, then wait - there's more. In your brain, it causes the secretion of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine and phenethylamine. What this does it makes us feel good. Really good. These hormones are released when you have sex, experience an exercise high and fall in love. So eating chocolate is somewhat comparable to an epic honeymoon period with your lover, that one that touches a special place in your heart, the one that makes your eyes light up and your heart beat faster. Yep. Cacao.
In a (cacao) nutshell, that's it. Now before you go, make sure your cacao is not cocoa: this is not a silly little spelling mistake on your pack of cacao. Cocoa is a completely different product, basically taking out all the good and adding in a whole heap of sugar and chemically altered ingredients to artificially produce the experience above.
So run free with your cacao beans and have a magical love affair: your body and mind will thank you.
Image via This Rawsome Vegan Life